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November Textures

I captured these images shortly after Thanksgiving, but it wasn't until now, more than a week later, that I found the words to go with them. Today was one of those endless work days; the kind that was full-throttle from the minute my morning alarm went off. A day of low vibrations, high emotions, and chaotic energy all around. Thinking back on it all, I only vaguely remember having lunch, and when I blinked, the day had come to an end. The sun had gone down, the corridors had quieted, and the offices had emptied. It was long after dark when I finally quit. By that time, the doors were locked and I was the last to leave.

I packed my things and leaned my body hard into the exit door before stumbling out of my office and into the black, rainy evening. I braced for the wave of cold to hit me, but it never did. The weather had turned unseasonably warm at some point throughout the day. I walked slowly through the parking lot, under the harsh, downward-facing cones of light emanating from the streetlamps - the contrast of their outlines, exacerbated by the misty rain. It was in that moment I found myself standing in the parking lot, alone, smelling the bittersweet smell of late-November.

Six years ago I stepped out of my then-home's doorway in old Schenectady under a shroud of identical circumstances. I was headed out for a late-day run after a similarly trying day. I took a couple of quick steps, lengthened my stride, and began down the street before taking a hard left into the park. As I ran through the rain and the dark, under the glow of the neighborhood streetlamps, I pushed the pace until I could push no harder. And in between my deep, lung-filling breaths, I smelled the beautiful aroma of late-November then, too.

Shortly after that run six years ago, I moved to Ithaca. There, I experienced three Novembers before moving back to the Capital Region of New York. Geographically, these two dots are relatively proximal on a map, but, for me, they might as well have been poles apart. The smell of late-November then and now reminded me of a loop connected. The blend of warm rain on the cold ground, all the while converging on a single point that defines both the beginning and the end of a journey. These pictures, then, are not photographs of the ground, but of the very source that has connected these points in time.

November is a time of transition. Like spring, it stands as a demarcation within the life cycle of nature. Whereas in the spring we celebrate the perfume aroma of blossoming leaves and budding flowers, in November we pine for the summer past among the scent of rot and expiration. On the ground are the leaves that lived their short lives; the grass that has lost its color; and the remnants of another year gone by. Here, among these November textures, we complete the circle once again. 

Footnotes: All images, Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon 16-55mm f/2.8 XF R LM WR