Things that scare me

The arrival of fall is always bittersweet for me. After the relentless California summer, I yearn for the shortening of the days and revel in breathing the mournful autumn air. I look forward to seeing the morning sun enliven the dying leafs in a burst of reds and yellows and greens so exquisite that it takes my breath away. I long to grasp onto the faint chill on a warm day that first hints at autumn and bare tree limbs that signal the death of winter. The impossibility of capturing the transciency of fall is what makes it bittersweet. Fall is about transformations, and that’s why it’s my favorite season.

To celebrate fall, last weekend I went to a football game. Now, I haven’t been to a game in decades and it was my first-ever at my alma mater. Back in my undergraduate days at UC Berkeley, I didn’t even know we had a football team.

What a game it was! A cliffhanger victory for the Bears in overtime against the Washington Huskies. The nearly 60,000 fans worked themselves into a frenzy at midday. They jumped up and down, shoved their right fists skyward in a “power to the people” parody and shouted: “Go! Bears! Go! Bears! Go! Bears!” What was scary was how easy it was to become one with them.

That and the proximity of Halloween got me to thinking about things that scare me. Here’s a short list:

Bush’s use of terrorism to terrorize the American people into accepting the war in Iraq, giving the OK to torture and relinquishing our civil liberties in a misguided expression of patriotism scares me.

The existence of operational plans for attacking Iran and the U.S. fleet moving into the Persian Gulf scare me.

And, closer to home, Cosmo Garvin examines in this week’s cover story the snow job PG&E launched to keep voters from approving SMUD’s annexation of Yolo County. The ease with which that was done, and the difficulty ordinary folks have in getting at the truth, is pretty scary, too.

There’s more on the November 7 ballot to frighten us all. But fall is the season of transformation, so let’s get out and vote for change. And don’t miss SN&R’s endorsements on November 2.