Fall’s here in New England and I’m happy. Yes, spring is lovely and summer’s fun. Even old man winter has his icy grandeur. But nothing compares to autumn’s beauty and majesty. And though this season comes at a price, I still love it for these five reasons….
Leaves – In Connecticut, we’re treated to a riot of golden, red, and yellow foliage everywhere. Trees become gasp-inducing works of art. They form sunlit bowers over country roads. Leaves pile up in heaps on lawns and streets. And yes, they’re a pain to rake, but there’s also that earthy, smoky smell. I can’t help but put on classical music when I drive around. Only Vivaldi or DeBussy could be a backdrop to the swirl of autumn’s confetti.
Crisper air – Just when I think my hair will never stop frizzing, ahhhh… the cooler, drier weather comes. There’s no need for air conditioning. Sweaters and blazers beckon. Dress becomes more formal, more covered than skin-revealing summer clothes. Extra crispness in the air makes me take deeper breaths and contemplate where I’m going and what I’ll do when I get there. And will there be snacks? There’s a feeling of ‘pull your bootstraps up’ in fall that I love.
School supplies – Even though my sons are in their twenties, I still get tingles when I see piles of clean, fresh notebooks and blister packs of Bic pens. I even thrill to the sight of a new paperback dictionary (are they used anymore?) and thesauruses. So much learning still ahead, for all of us. I even love the rumble of school buses, a reminder to get serious and buckle down after this indolent summer. There’s work to be done. Yes, clearly, fall is the season of nerds.
All the good shows come back – Like Penelope, the ever-patient wife in The Odyssey, I’ve had to sit and weave and wait as certain series take forever (and I mean forever) to return. The Crown, My Brilliant Friend, The Great British Baking Show, and This is Us are finally coming back! It feels like all the cool kids you haven’t seen all summer are reuniting. And though I’ll have to pull cobwebs off me, especially waiting for The Crown, I know it will be worth it.
Candy apples – They first start appearing in our supermarket when this season begins in earnest. Out go the cherries and peaches, at least the locally-grown, and in come these caramel or red cinnamon flavored wonders. I almost convince myself that I’m being healthy chomping them down. They remind me of trick-or-treating and country fairs and jumping in big leaf piles as a kid.
But here’s the sad part about fall – it’s really about death.
Those leaves that started as earnest little shoots in April now make their last graceful swan dives to the ground. The earth starts cooling. Days are shorter. Only a few months remain of a year that seemed to begin yesterday. Everything feels bittersweet and stirring. Children go back to school. Another holiday cycle approaches. A new year lays on the horizon.
Fall feels like a beautiful, bon voyage party. And deep down, as those leaves fall, we know we’re all saying goodbye — to light, long days, to eating watermelon on the back porch, to feeling like life will always be sunny and soft and easy, to even time itself.
There’s something mysterious and unknowable about autumn. We sense it holds secrets that it’s not telling. It’s no coincidence that our scariest holiday, Halloween, with its ghosts and witches and cemeteries, comes this time of year.
And before we know it, fall will be done. Brown leaves will lie in heaps on the ground. Trees will be bare. Winter coats will come out. Fall will be over, for now.
And what can we do, but stop and appreciate this gift while we can, this season of contradictions – happy but melancholy, abundant but ultimately bare, mysterious and yet colorful and alive.
What can we do but breathe it in and take another bite of a candy apple?
How do you feel about fall? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share.
If you’d like to receive posts by email, just press here.