Weather has changed in Louisiana and the cool autumn temperatures with unclouded skies have retreated, been shoved aside by cold temperatures and wintry rain. First sight this morning was of a wet neighborhood soaking under steady rain. A day for sitting around the crackling glow of a fireplace reading or watching one of the several football games on television, getting up once in a while to nibble Thanksgiving leftovers and gaze out at falling rain and patches of brown leaves plastered on brick and car.
But the rain and cold weren’t enough to keep me from going out to look for a recently released book on my watch list. During the two days in New Orleans this week I was in at least half a dozen bookstores, but didn’t see the long awaited second volume of Christopher Isherwood diaries, The Sixties: 1960-1969. Certain that it was scheduled for release in late November, I drove over to Barnes & Noble and found it right off. Got a free one-year B&N member’s card in the process, with the usual $25 fee waived for Black Friday. But a trade-off came in the shape of badly bent reading glasses. Would have sworn they were okay when I walked in the bookstore, but I must have sat on them at some point. I was lucky to find an optician nearby.
The cold, wet weather here is the first I’ve encountered since leaving Japan in April, and perhaps not surprisingly has turned my thoughts to the Tokyo Novembers I am most familiar with. Flipping through the catalog of photos on my iPhone, I uncovered a couple of November snapshots in Japan. Nothing special about them, except that they stir something piquant in my memories. A strawberry plant, dried red peppers, a gingko tree half green, half yellow, ordinary images that in some way or another resonate with the first cold rain of a Louisiana November. A phone call from beachside in Florida tells me that it’s all sun and clear skies over deep ocean blue 700 miles east.