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De ramis cadunt folia: autumn's empires are falling down, winter's… - Off the Cliff

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Sun Nov 9th, 2014


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06:03 pm
De ramis cadunt folia: autumn's empires are falling down, winter's closing in. Enough leaves remain on enough trees in sufficient autumn colours-- ochre, umber, sienna-- to recall the brocade glory of just a week ago; enough trees have gone completely bare to remind me of the drabness to come. But still I get little memory frissons of various somber yellow years as I walk the leaf-washed streets- '58 in my serge convent uniform, playing in the leaf piles in the darkening back yard; '85 reading Soseki and Takuboku on Brunswick Ave, fatally around the corner from the now defunct Book City; 2000 biking down to Chinatown Central for hideously overpriced Saiyuki tanks. Good times, good times.

And totally misplaced, a memory of having coffee in an Omote-sandou kissa with Fearless Leader and paleaswater on such a November afternoon as this. Which was in fact February, but Yoyogi park was still awash in yellow ginko leaves and it *felt* like November. (Though Tokyo November was usually shirtsleeve weather, which is more disconcerting than I can say.)

The thing about being born precisely midcentury is that one's age always lines up with the years: no difficult math needed to remember what year I turned 24 or whatever. Possibly this is the reason why, after 30, I stopped thinking of years in terms of what age I was ('when I was 36') and only by date ('in 1986.'). Age qua age had simply ceased to matter. So 41 or 48 or 53 mean nothing to me; I didn't even notice I was those ages at the time; whereas the words '91 or '98 or 2003 are full of associations and memories.

In my teens and twenties I was acutely aware of my age, as one is, and of each year's difference-- "OMG now I'm 27!!!" Glad that stopped; but alas, it started again at 60. And now I think in ages again, after three decades of not, though the years will still assert their individual identities still. 2012 is definitely not 2010 or 2013: it feels quite different.
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[User Picture]
From:incandescens
Date:November 10th, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
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Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

These last few years I have had to consciously think to remember my precise age, other than "40 and over".
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:November 10th, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
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It will come to such thoughts colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie.

Maybe it's a universal then? Everyone I know went through high! age drama in their 20s, some certainly in their 30s, but I heard very little of it after 40. When one has other concerns to occupy one's thoughts.
[User Picture]
From:cesmith
Date:November 10th, 2014 02:27 am (UTC)
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Other than a few health issues, I think I have been happier since I turned 50. As for keeping track of my age in years, my birthday was Friday and I realized I have been telling everyone that I was already 58 when I finally just turned it. Being young just doesn't seem to be as important as it once did. I have friends who really do lie about their ages and I just always say, Why bother?
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:November 10th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC)
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I do that too! Tell people I'm whatever age I'm going to be, starting about a month before my birthday. Not planned or anything, just-- precise age doesn't seem to matter that much.

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