BY CLINTON PAWLICK
I like the way the light falls in September. Soft and diffuse, with the hint of Halloween orange in the spaces near the shadows.
It’s a special time of year — my New Year so much more than January. I wait expectantly for that first confirmation of autumn, when the warm scent of blackberries on the air gives way to a distinct, yet subtle coolness, and the leaves turn quietly red.
There’s a poignance to fall, which is absent from the other seasons. Spring is too optimistic. Winter, too dreary. Summer? She can be tedious or evasive. It depends on her mood. But fall is both nostalgic and hopeful. And I welcome the gentle approach and its attendant provisions.
For me, this is a time of change. Not just an adjustment in weather, but something more. An end and a beginning. I’m not the same as I was last year. Shape, substance, and style all move forward, and not in equal proportions. It is the same with the Seahawks.
Last year my wife Jen wore No. 79. Red Bryant. A signed jersey we’ve now retired. His move to Jacksonville, a place where they don’t really have seasons, hurts. And this year, I can’t look at that number the same way. Sorry, Garry Gilliam, who interited the number, but I just need some time.
This year Jen wears Derrick Coleman to the home games. And what an excellent choice. His name might not make the marquee, but he carries a presence. Best Supporting Actor in a Marshawn Lynch play. So when he had a speaking part, a short reception and touchdown scramble right in front of our seats, Jen definitely spilled her chi. A running instructor Jen once took us to, had said we needed to run as if we were carrying a bowl of chi or internal energy. It was a little new-age wacky for me. I thought running was like walking, only faster. In any case, as Coleman crossed the goal line, Jen’s internal energy went everywhere, and I got a little bit on me.
When I think of this year, I can’t do so without the context of last. A magical season. The best NFC Championship game and play of all time. A Super Bowl in New York City. Hope against all odds. Triumph in victory. I see it in my mind’s eye how I felt it then. Diaphanous. Fine, textured, elegant.
This season won’t be the same, but it has potential in its own right. Russell Wilson looks sharp, composed. And he has more options. Beast Mode is as strong as ever. And with Percy Harvin healthy, the defenses have to guess. Are the Hawks coming up the middle or running a lightning sweep? There are new receivers. Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, and I watch for them, well, like a Hawk, hoping for some dynamic play that will make the CLink erupt with noise.
As much as I had hoped for Earl Thomas to return punts, I felt my shoulders relax as Pete Carroll announced Bryan Walters as the new return man. Against Green Bay, Walters fielded his one punt with a calmness that rivaled Earl’s intensity. Somehow, this new arrangement seems more comfortable. Like a favorite sweater. It just fits.
Other rookies bring new energy to the team. Brock Coyle, who played so well in preseason and Cassius Marsh are also on my watch list.
So let the weather turn as sunny days give way to earlier evenings. And let us begin the season with a knowledge of where we’ve been and a desire to see what’s next.
Clinton Pawlick and his wife, Jen, live in North Seattle. They love the Seahawks, good friends, Washington reds, and their two cats, Malcolm and Ink Pot Pie.
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