Sinus infections make me dizzy upon standing (and sometimes just sitting up). The medicine I take to great them also make me dizzy. Nothing too serious—I don’t fall or anything—but enough to disorient and feel wobbly for a scary moment.
I experience a similar effect when a shock wears off and realization sets in. Like when I can emerge again after an illness and feeling so much joy, only to remember that I’ve missed time—realizing that it was Sunday again, for example.
Or, that it’s peak autumn around here and that it’s Covid’s second autumn, and we’re coming up on two years of this no-longer strange reality. Seeing masks on yesterday’s walk reminded me that we had autumns without them, and I nearly missed a step. It’s finally cold enough here for sweaters and scarves, and the time has changed. Darkness comes earlier now.
A stroll amongst ghosts
On our way down to the Charles River yesterday, Ollie and I walked through Harvard Yard, with its seventeenth-century brick buildings and the ghosts of centuries of privileged students, walking under autumn leaves. Tours have resumed, and I heard snippets of history as we walked past placards memorializing a building’s former life. I mostly just remember that Conan O’Brien lived there.
Gobsmacking beauty makes me dizzy, too
Gobsmacking beauty also makes me dizzy, and weekend’s peak autumn colors had me stopping to stare up as sunshine filtered through leaves every warm hue, and still some green here and there, which I try to soak up before it all falls away. I remember autumns passed, kicking leaves like a child and feeling like I should be squirrelled away in the library doing homework. Sunday Scaries are in some ways like autumn—it’s pleasant, and you have time, but you know what’s coming.
Old Burial Ground
We also passed the Cambridge’s Old Burial Ground, which, while not ideal for photography, had the kind of light that nonetheless made me stop and stare. Gnarled trees orange and gold with sunshot leaves shaded the fading stones. Four hundred years since the Pilgrims landed here—the anniversary passed last year. Thankfully with little fanfare due to Covid, as that anniversary should trigger grief over the crimes against Indigenous peoples.
Dizziness tinged with shame and wonder
Four hundred and one years. Eight fifty-year lifetimes, seven stretching back from my own. A blip humanity’s time, but long enough to disorient. Those people buried in the Old Burial Ground would not recognize us. I recognize them, though, dizziness tinged with shame and wonder.
I shook my head, and we kept walking in the warmth of the sun, returning home just before the it set, an hour earlier with the time change.