Autumn quietly slips upon us in a colorful way

Published 12:02 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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With daytime temperatures still quite warm it is hard to imagine that in just a few days, autumn will be here. However, there are signs of the fall season everywhere. The coming of fall is more subtle than summer, less determined. It is full of color and new beginnings. Even for those who have nothing to do with schools there is a sense of starting again – new clothes, new thoughts, cooler, brisker air.
Like spring, fall is a season of transition, a reminder of the value of change. As we move closer to fall, there is a change in the temperatures – from blazing hot days to more comfortable temperatures. Soon it will be sweater weather. The oppression of summer heat is overthrown by the autumnal rebels, layered on in the form of jumpers, vests, scarves and hats. The fall season simply feels nicer than the others. There are many fun and enjoyable activities, such as football, walks in the woods or in the park. Fall is a season for bonfires, tailgating, hiking, shopping, and communing with friends and nature.
Fall is often considered a mystical, sometimes melancholy season. It’s a time of transition from summer into winter. The nights come earlier, the temperature gradually cools and the leaves change colors before falling and covering the ground. Poets and songwriters frequently use autumn as a metaphor for aging, Maxwell Anderson’s lyrics for the classic “September Song” capture that feeling perfectly:
“Oh it’s a long, long while
from May ’till December
And the days grow short
When you reach September.
When the Autumn weather
turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time
For the waiting game.”
It is in the fall that we witness the harvest moon, pumpkins, fodder shocks, scarecrows. squirrels hiding nuts for the winter months, and the first frost. The trees will soon translate to their autumn dress – so beautiful that folks will travel great distances to the mountains of Northeast Tennessee and Western North Carolina to marvel at the sign. Albert Camus wrote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leave is in flower.” And it’s from Sarton that we get the stoic wisdom of the trees and their lesson in change. “Imitate the trees,” she wrote. “Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”
And, what about the flavors of autumn – pumpkin spice, for one, warm apple cider, and hot chocolate.
True, the geese honk across the sky, the sun is later coming up in the morning and the evenings shorter – one definition of autumn is that it begins on the equinox, September 23, when dark and light are equal.
Soon it will be time to switch the thermostat from air to heat.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth,” Henry David Thoreau advised in “Walden,” his practical meditation on living seasonally.
In winter, go deep inside yourself and get snug and comfortable there. In spring, let yourself break out of the cocoon because we’ve endured the darkness and need to let in the light. In summer, get outside, be free and chase happiness like a puppy after its own tail.
And in fall, welcome an inward and grateful focus as the days get chillier, darker and more meaningful.
Once fall arrives, Halloween is just around the corner; with Thanksgiving close behind. And soon we will celebrate Christmas and the New Year.It means the cycle of life continues. For without fall, there would be no winter. And without winter, no spring or summer.
Fall is a mystery certainly, melancholy at times, but a miracle always.

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