Currently here in late August I’m standing at the Seasonal Train Station, suitcase in hand, waiting on the Autumn Central Express to come steaming into the passage. I imagine billows of fiery leaves swirling in its chilly wake, the wrought iron cars each bearing loads of pumpkins, yellow moonlight, and clinking bottles of refined mischief, all smelling faintly of cinnamon, cloves, and rain-drenched sidewalks in the morning.
There’s a fair amount of people entering the Terminal with each passing day. Younger children looking sadly into several empty candy bags; their older siblings are already in costumes and face paint, currently more content to pick the mushiest apples out of a bubbling witch cauldron; prime ammunition for those homeowners not wise enough to shell out proper tooth-melting fare on the 31st.
College kids are starting to work their way down the stairs, some working in teams to carry untapped kegs, bantering loudly about how many lady cats, nurses, angels, and policewomen will appear at their bash in a couple months. Homeowners are reviewing how best to layout the makeshift tombstones in their yards, making sure there’s enough space to comfortably hang an oversized rubber spider off the front porch, and asking themselves just how many skulls is too many.
The squeaking of rubber rainboots, comforting gurgle of hot cider splashing happily into a ceramic mug, and shuff-shuff of rakes gathering leaves echoes from the rafters. There’s the rickety squeaks of produce carts loaded heavy with the last seasonal harvest rolling from here to there, bringing with it the earthy scent of broken squash vines, muddy boots, and honest labor.
A whistle blows, and attentions are suddenly drawn to the dark tunnel where a faint light is beginning to pierce the blackness. Faces light up with knowing grins, and I walk a step or two closer to the yellow line. As the train rolls past, our smiles turn to sighs: The Summer Sunshine Locomotive isn’t stopping yet, coasting gaily along with hoards of sunbathers spread out across flatcars, boxcars full of fresh and seawater with fishermen sitting idly at their edges, beaming faces full of laughter are present in every window pane.
A child sits with his legs dangling off the end of the caboose, a popsicle in hand, waving as the Summer train departs. The terminal is quiet once again. After a few minutes of disappointed silence, the buzz quietly returns. Mugs of tea are passed around, the windows are cracked to let in a bit of chill, and somebody turns a football game on in the background.
Don’t remind me that it’s August. I’m a Fall kid at heart.