Fifteen Minutes: How To: Cross a Street

Can you feel it? There's something magical in the air. Maybe it's in the brisk sting that snaps across your

Can you feel it? There's something magical in the air.

Maybe it's in the brisk sting that snaps across your cheeks when you take that first step outside in the morning. Or maybe it's in the way the afternoon breeze gently plucks yellowed leaves from the trees in the Yard. I guess it could be in the sound of a marching band on a Saturday afternoon, or the smell of a wood fire on a chilly Cambridge evening.

I started to feel it last week. A smooth, comforting feeling that began in the pit of my stomach, rose up to my chest, and flew through every limb of my body. It's unmistakable. It's autumn.

For some reason, I've never enjoyed the autumn as much as I have this year. I've never appreciated the subtly changing colors of the leaves, the gradual chilling of the air or the slowly shortening afternoons. It's an essential transition, I've realized. A transition that a freshman at a place like Harvard can easily miss. As a sophomore, it's as if my eyes have been reopened to the autumn that I loved as a child.

All of a sudden, I can barely wait for the next chance to step outside. I make excuses to take the long way homeosometimes I even wander through the streets of Cambridge with nothing on my mind but a desire to avoid a journey indoors. When I'm out in the autumn air, it's as if I'm magically transported far away from Harvard. It's as if I'm 10 years old, right back at home in Ridgewood, N.J.

I start to feel a deep-seeded need to take a hay ride, to sit on cold metal stands at a high school football game, or to pick some apples, bring them home and have Mom's homemade pie for dessert. Maybe there's time to jump in a pile of leaves or two, and then I'll spend the rest of the day picking them off my dirty flannel shirt. At night, I'd like nothing better than to throw some logs on the fire, turn on a football game and sit back with The New York Times and a plastic New York Giants-sponsored mug of apple cider.

Autumn hasn't always turned me into such a monster. In fact, I used to fancy myself more of a springtime kind of guy. Back in elementary school, spring meant so much more to us suburban kids. Little League came back into town. Recess was outdoors once againoinstead of inside the rotting gym. The Yankees were playing in the Bronx again. By the time we were in high school, the hormones were raging and the girls were always breaking out their summertime wardrobes just a little too early. And summer vacation was just around the corner. Yeah, I could see why spring could be someone's favorite seasonojust not mine.

And I guess summer was always a good season for me, tooolong days turning into short months at William Lawrence Camp in New Hampshire, and then in high school years, long nights at the local diner or movies. Throw in a week-long family vacation to Cape Cod or Vermont somewhere along the line, and you've got yourself a solid little season there. But summerowell, summer never really did it for me, either. September was always just a few months away.

Don't even talk to me about winter. It's never anything but a huge disappointment. Sure, you get the occasional snow day with nothing more important to do than slide down a steep hill on a snow tube and settle down with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Maybe a day or two spent freezing your toes off at the ski slopes. But wait 'til it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. and there is nothing better to do than stay inside and do homework or watch TV. That's why I hate winter.

So now that I'mogulpoall grown up, autumn is the only season that really gets me going. My heart beats fast when I see a football team take the field in full uniform. I stop in my tracks when I sense the unforgettable smell of baking cider donuts. And foliage? I'm a foliage nut.

It actually makes some sense that I identify with autumn so much. Like spring, it's a transitional season. And my life, like everyone else's at college, has been enormously transitional in the past few years. In autumn, the land is moving slowly from the warm climate to which it's accustomed and readying itself for the winter that's ahead. I've been moving from my comfortable life in New Jersey to this new, bizarre life of my own. But the difference is crucialoin the fall, it doesn't get cold too quickly. Rather, the temperature chills at a nice leisurely rate.

It got real cold real fast for me last year as a freshman. I spent most of the time searching for something to grab hold of. I never felt like there was an instance that I could point out to someone and want to say: "Hey, lookothat's Kevin Meyers." I was trying new things. I was making mistakes. And I know I didn't have as much fun as I should have.

Now the transition to my new life is almost complete. This year, instead of rushing off to every comp and introductory meeting for every interesting club on campus, I'm taking a low-key tack. And I've been making time to take walksolong walks along the river, in the fresh autumn breeze, with nothing but my thoughts and the scenery. Sometimes, I can even hear nature singing Simon and Garfunkel: "Slow down, you're moving too fast you've got to make the morning last."

So this time around, I'll be doing a lot more of that. I wholeheartedly recommend that you give it a try. Trust me, we can all use it.

So now, if you ever want to pay Kevin a visit, you'll know just where to find him. I'll be sitting in front of a football game on TV, eating a thick slice of pumpkin pie and carving a jack-o-lantern, "looking for fun and feeling groovy."

Hey lookothat's Kevin Meyers.

Kevin E. Meyers '02 is a History and Literature concentrator living in Winthrop House. He rakes leavesofor money.