It is fall in Korea. The ginko trees that line the streets are turning to their autumn colors and their leaves flutter down in the wind like little flakes of gold. Brisk and breezy days give way to chilled nights for sturdy jackets and walking with your hands in your pockets. The vendors in the streets have begun to change their menus favoring warm pastries and skewers over the summer’s ice cream. Coffee, always in season, is now enjoyed indoors and almost certainly served hot rather than the iced variety.
Getting out for a few moments each day offers a reminder of this beautiful and pleasant time. In the bunker, the days pass without much change and the steady rhythm of planning and reporting continues. The low, constant hum of computer servers provides the backdrop to the sounds of busy keyboards and close conversations in both English and Korean. The echo of telephones ringing at every interval along the hallways and offices gives urgency to each moment.
It is a short walk back to the room at night, where a stiff drink and mild music help steer my mind while I read, paint, or write about the things that matter most.