The Case for Seasonal Sentimentality
by Mary Laura Philpott
If I see the humanity in nature, I see the nature in humanity as well.
There’s a line in Nora Ephron’s 1983 novel Heartburn: “Show me a woman who cries when the trees lose their leaves in autumn and I’ll show you a real asshole.” I reread it recently and thought, wait a second—I cry sometimes when the leaves fall. Although I’ve always wished I’d had a chance to meet the late Ephron, maybe it’s better that I never had to admit to her my sentimentality, which apparently was as uncool then as it is now.
I’ve also been known to get a little teary when I find a craggy pebble that looks like a frowning face. I sniffle when I see a skunk in my yard who looks lonely, like it’s dawning on him that all his skunk friends went on an adventure without him. I laugh, too, when I see a twig that looks like it’s giving me the finger. I chuckle when I see an ant trying to carry a half a Froot Loop. As a cartoonist, I draw talking birds, smiling flowers, and chickens wearing socks, and very often these creatures feel as real to me—and as filled with inner narratives—as people.