Fall, despite being the herald of winter, is easily my favorite season. And why not? There’s so much to love: hot apple cider, marching band season, beautiful scenery, not to mention all things pumpkin. I could go on and on.
There’s always a day in September when it begins. The air is a little cooler, the walk to school a little more brisk. Mornings like this hold a special kind of beauty. The sky seems just a little more blue when the leaves are changing, and the brightness of the sky intensifies the crimson and gold of the leaves.
As a girl, I loved walking home from school in the gutters. I would shuffle along so that any leaves present would collect around my feet. Within a block or so, I was usually ankle-deep in leaves, if not better. My mother, of course, hated this habit for a variety of reasons, first and foremost being the damage it did to my shoes.
Brisk fall mornings still invigorate me; something about that crisp air makes me glad to be alive. For some reason, though – years of conditioning, perhaps? – a brisk fall morning leaves me longing to head back to school. Maybe the truly invigorating aspect of both lies in their promise, the possibility that anything can happen. Sometimes I think we, as adults, tend to forget that.
It’s like farming. As adults, we get caught up in the minutiae of preparing the fields and planting the crops. Those crops are meticulously selected before planting and once they’re in the ground, they must be tended equally meticulously. Fertilizers, insecticides, and fungicides are all applied in the hope of producing a marketable crop. Irrigation systems must be maintained to ensure the crops receive the perfect amount of water.
Even if you do all of these things, though, droughts and floods and all manner of other natural disasters can still wipe out a crop before harvest. And even if they don’t and the growing season goes perfectly and harvest goes off without a hitch, the market could shift, making your crops worthless (or very near it).
But kids don’t see these things. As kids, we witness the magic of seasonal change, of growth and decay and renewal, with wonder and excitement. As the leaves change and fall around me, as the crops are brought in from the fields and the grain dryers are fired up across town, I am trying to hang onto that magic, that sense of possibility, that little piece of my childhood. And you know what I’ve discovered?
(c) 2012. All rights reserved.