by RALEY BEGGS
Second-Year MM Guitar
I can’t stand cold weather. For as long as I can remember I’ve complained to no end about the pain and misery surrounding the feelings of any temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, vowing forever to avoid climates unsuitable for palm trees and board shorts. Well, like so many youthful promises I’ve made to myself only to be broken, here I am. Boston. Famous not for its excess of palm trees and sunshine, but instead for unpredictable and ruthlessly cold weather.
Perhaps this feeling isn’t so foreign to all of us. One of the finest qualities of NEC is the incredible diversity of the student body, which includes those of us who are not accustomed to below-freezing temperatures. Those of us who have never faced questions like: How can it be this cold and still be raining? How much snow is enough to cancel school? Who in their right mind decided to stay here in the 1600s? Some of you haven’t been here long enough to ponder the bulletproof logic of staying inside for a month or more, but we now find ourselves at the very end of days that guarantee warmth and now peer over a cliff of uncertainty (and a whole lot of snow!). This cliff, in New England, is named “Fall.”
Fall is one of the four seasons, another new concept for some of us, and is marked most famously by turning leaves of trees all too familiar with what is to come. Fall is the part of the year where you start to very seriously doubt the functionality of your wardrobe. Fall is the gravestone season atop any delusions you’ve held thus far– delusions like comfort, warmth, and physical and mental well-being.
Last year, Fall was when I myself began to wither and lose my leaves. I started to forget all the things that made up my personality, which had become delirious and numb from my first encounters with plummeting temperatures. I turned inward and cold, less from the changing seasons and more for the discomforts of being in a situation and climate I’ve never experienced before. Clinging to my familiarities, I fought it. And fall, above all else, is not to be fought.
What nobody told me then was that fall is a time for rejuvenation. Fall is a transition from the superficial, rocket-fueled types of fun associated with summer into the pensive and thoughtful rewards of winter. It is itself a personal growth– a shedding of one’s past to make room for one’s future. To deny the transition is to deny nature.
I hadn’t learned these lessons until facing their inevitability. I recognized my whining wasn’t helping, and that the seasons would continue as scheduled– with or without my approval.
Thinking back, that fight seems preposterous. Fact: Boston gets cold. I’m not claiming to have been logical about the process, I’m only admitting to my childish resistance to the seasons. When you haven’t experienced them they somehow seem avoidable, like they don’t apply to you.
To those of you now gearing up to experience your first round of seasons: don’t resist them. You’re from a warmer climate– yes, we’ve heard. But now you live in Boston, and you’re likely to stay for awhile. There are two ways you can handle this new reality. The first involves a long, prolonged, and exceedingly cold plummet into the pits of winter, accompanied by a distinct feeling of being a fish swimming upstream. Last year, this was my choice. The second involves two investments: good boots and a really, really good jacket. It also involves acceptance and a keen eye for the beauty found in places the planet hasn’t had the chance to show you yet. With the proper clothing and a smile, the cliff you now peer over will seamlessly turn into a fall you won’t forget.