Every autumn, I tell myself that I am going to pay attention to this season of transition. I will notice the yellow-tinted leaves as they fall from the branches into heaping piles at our feet. I will cherish nature’s horizon bursting with color on crisp mornings.
Every year, despite what I tell myself, one day I look around and suddenly all the leaves have fallen. The trees are now bare, shivering in the wind, while frost dots the grass below. In my earnest attempts to capture the essence of fall, to take a screenshot of a season that is always nostalgic for its brief embrace, its end always seems to take me by surprise.
Trimesters evade me in the same way. In a university that anchors itself to the numbering of weeks, each passing week tied to a collective sense of being, it is impossible to hit pause. Even in the seeming stillness of an early term Tuesday, weeks tied to numbers tied to midterms tied to parties create a chronology of anticipated milestones that is impossible to separate from.
In trying to find that one moment in the term of which to take a snapshot, to create a memory that is not steeped in signifiers, it is impossible to focus in on a frame and the result is always blurry.
Just as autumn is marked by its familiar festivities and beloved in its brevity, the term is always marked by its stage in the cycle, an acknowledgement of its temporary role. Enveloped within its grasp, it is impossible to capture a still life when its movement is on pace with your own. As the end of the term creeps forward and takes me off guard, just as every term before it, this time I try to pay attention.