Beneath our flannel sheets we slept. The north wind blew its cold breath, shaking limbs and scattering leaves. In a semi-daze I heard it moan, barred from homes with shut windows and locked doors. The heater, like a watchman standing post, hummed; its sound lulled me back to deeper sleep.
A bouquet of spices and oak greet my nose as I swill a bulbous glass of petit syrah. The deeply purple hue resembles black when peered from the bottom of the stemware, but the rim fluid is a gorgeous jeweled-tone maroon. This afternoon is one of stillness and solitude. The balcony door is wide open, welcoming the bright but pleasantly mild autumn sunlight. There’s enough chill in the air to warrant a light sweater. Cool days like these lend a more relaxed atmosphere.
The honey tones of autumn bloom upon the leaves and aging meadows. Slender wheat tipped grass brush the fields as the early morning breeze sweeps through the valley. Had I not awaken that Saturday with a sense of restlessness I would not have witnessed autumn’s subtle beauty. In these parts the days are still warm with evenings that tickle at the mere fancy of chilly weather. Because of said restlessness, I don my Nikes, strapped on my camera and ventured beyond my threshold.
We have crossed the threshold of autumn. In my corner of the continent; however, the leaves have not yet changed their colors. Last week the atmosphere was so saturated with pollen that my sinuses went berserk. I blew my nose until my skin started peeling like raw sunburn. My eyes watered as if I cried myself a river. Then came the sinus headache that left me immobile on the sofa (thank God it was during the weekend). Finally, at long last salvation came in the form of rain. It rained the night before and all of the following day. I can now breathe through my nose, and my trash bin is not overflowing with soggy tissue.
Oh, to be human.
Summer breezes are blasts of furnace heat. The hot is thick and tangible. You feel it crisping your skin. It blankets you in persperation until you’re grumpy and out of sorts. Summer can be a restless season. The stifling heat can be debilitating. For those of us accustomed to air conditioning, it renders us like herds migrating to the next AC’d shelter. The only time the heat can be tolerable is when you’re floating in a pool. When you’re looking up at the tree tops and the crisp blue sky that look freshly laundered while chlorinated water caresses your skin. It’s pretty much bliss. Other than that, summer has a way of amplifying the tiny things that tug on your nerves.
On a particularly foggy Sunday morning, we (designers and managers of designers) met at the bus outside the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. All of us have traveled across the United States to attend the HOW Design LIVE conference. This morning’s excursion was a studio tour we had purchased in addition to our conference registration. From 8 AM to noon we will visit five design studios within the vicinity.
Graphic design was not my career path during my high school and university years. Ever since I was a wee little girl my sights were aimed at becoming a doctor. My course load at school were heavy on the sciences and mathematics. I understood math because it was logical (and because my dad was a great tutor…after all he had a master’s degree in mathematics). I didn’t like chemistry. When I encountered organic chemistry the first time, I loathed it. By the time I realized medical school was not for me, I had already worked several years as a business analyst for a major corporation in Kansas City. I was great at my job, but I didn’t love it. I moved to Texas and was hired as a copywriter (among other responsibilities) for a nonprofit organization. I loved writing, and it was easy for me. My office computer had the Adobe Creative Suite, and I had access to our company’s lynda.com subscription. Within that first year as a copywriter, I taught myself the basics of graphic design and learned how to use Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
A whole new world opened before me, one that was not bogged by numbers and formulas; one in which colors and typography mingled. Serendipitously, the passion I was searching for in a job landed in my lap. After working four years as a copywriter and graphic designer, I can still say that I love what I do.
Last week I attended a conference in San Francisco and my mother accompanied me. Our hotel was located in downtown by the intersection of Bush and Powell streets. Powell Street is the main drag for the trolleys. Every day we walked down Powell, past Union Square and tourists with cameras riding the trolleys. One night after dinner, we trekked our way up the steep hill to our hotel. A trolley full of high school boys and girls whooped and waved at us. Being in bright spirits, we whooped back at them and waved, too.
Often times in a big city one can feel lost in the crowd. People walk past you, sometimes not even side-stepping so as not to collide into you. When you do make eye contact it seems they are looking right past you. Most of the time, encounters while you’re walking from point A to point B are brief. I understand that we all have schedules to keep, and strangers you cross paths with or cross the street with are just another face in the tidal wave of pedestrians.