It was the fall that surprised me most.

I had never intended to move to the Northeast. Strange set of circumstances. Long story. Really long. Maybe not too long to relate, but longer than I'd like it to have. I just sort of ended up there.

Anyway, I got there in early December. I thought, having come from California, that that was "winter".

That's not winter.

Winter is bleak. Winter is white death. Winter is hell -- not just for Chekhov, mind you. For Vermont, too.

The first week I was there, I was talking about how poorly-equipped Southern California was for the onslaught of rain. Most of our rain occurs in about six weeks, I had said. In reality, it feels more like six days. But I didn't say that.

Anyway, here was the response. I shit you not: "Oh, is that your mud season?"

"Mud season?" Gah. The fact that that term *exists* is terrifying. It's like "wall snakes" or "ocular tapeworms" or "vaginal maggots". Once you hear that a term exists for it, you can never unlearn that fact.

I suffered through the mud season, too. That would have been hell for Chekhov, too, if they had one in Russia.

And the summers? Stephen King didn't make that up. Hotter than Southern California. I shit you not. Classic hell. Dante's.

But as I said? Fall. Autumn surprised me most. With the cold crisp in the air? The flame leaves? Maybe not heaven. There may not be a heaven. Only hell. But if that's hell, count me in. Hell -- and cider. Hot or cold. Let Chekhov choose.

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It was the fall that surprised me most.
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