The Geek & The Chic

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Autumn, Happy Fall

I realized when I lived in Alaska how much I missed autumn. Real autumn, with all the colors and scents that announce winter’s coming. The joke in Alaska is that autumn lasts one day and then it’s winter. That’s not quite so true but there is a hint of truth to it. The leaves on the birch trees will turn gold, it will rain for three days – a nasty, cold driving rain with thick clouds obscuring the mountains and then it will clear. The day will be bright and cold and the mountaintops will have snow. Winter’s here.

But this year I am in the Lower 48, having been absent for 12 years. I am having a real autumn this year and I have marveled at how beautiful the colors are. I really had forgotten. And it’s not just plain old red or gold or orange but varying shades of all those colors that somehow suggest nature is on fire. That even as the leaves are dying, they’re alive with bright and vibrant color.

I used to think autumn was my favorite season because I was born in September. But I’ve come to know it’s much more than that. Autumn begins quietly and ends with a flourish. Autumn makes us hurry up, as if to balance out summer’s laziness. Mornings begin crisp and grow warmer as the day grows old. Not long after that, the day will be described as having a "chill in the air". That’s the cue for the squirrels to gather their nuts, for the birds to fly south and for humans to begin their own nesting rituals for a long winter. And it’s not long after that before we’re scraping ice off the car’s windshield and cursing Old Man Winter.

Autumn is really very practical. We’re allowed to play even while we work – like jumping into a pile of leaves, or picking pumpkins for Halloween which in itself is another good reason to like autumn.

Ah but tomorrow is November, a month that feels more like Winter than Autumn. But November might perhaps be the most "autumn" of all months since it's associated with harvest. And come later this month, we'll sit down to remember and give thanks for all we have and are.

Happy Autumn to all. Better late than never.


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