I love fall. I always have. While some love the sunshine of summer, the beauty of spring, or the snuggles of winter, my heart lies with autumn.
I love the crisp, cool air. The oppressive heat of summer gives way to air upon which one’s breath can be seen. It doesn’t yet have the full bite of winter; instead, it playfully nibbles. I can bust out the light scarves and cute jackets. Early morning walks are beautiful and pleasant, not yet shrouded in winter’s rain.
I love the colors – the brilliant yellows and fiery reds. Every region is different. In Colorado, we would drive out into the mountains to see waves of fluttering golden aspens across every mountain’s hillside. In South Australia, the eucalyptus trees shed their bark instead of their leaves. In Oregon, trees begin to turn from the top down, resulting in green leafy clouds drizzled with yellow and broiled to a red burn.
Even the bushes change here, lining the streets in brilliant crimson.
Our freeway overpasses are also draped in ivy, all of which catch fire this time of year (figuratively!).
I love the harvest. Apples and beets and fennel and pumpkins and butternut and delicata and every other type of squash. I can’t stand monotony, so the variety fall’s bounty provides excites me every year. The cooler weather also harolds tea season, and boy, do I love tea! We have a packet organizer we use to house our tea in such a way that each morning with breakfast, we can select a different flavor (that variety thing again). Chamomile, chai, cinnamon, licorice, Sleepytime, Bengal Spice, pumpkin spice… yes… sorry, I love that, too.
I love the smells and the sharp crunch underfoot. On my way walking to work, I’ll deliberately shuffle my feet (probably to the chagrin of the leaf blowers), just to feel the dry leaves and kick up the autumn scent.
I love the transition. I’m a military brat, so I thrive with change. Fall embodies change so fervently; you wake one morning to realize the colors all around, and the trees are bare before the chill fully sinks in. This magical time is so fleeting, I never have an opportunity to grow tired of it. It’s nature’s cleansing – clear out the used detritus and make room for a new, clean start. It’s all very refreshing.
I love the promises. Autumn is a prelude to my favorite time of year, packed with the best festivities. Halloween. This is ingrained into every juvenile mind as Christmas for your mouth, and that inherent joy survives adolescence, leaving October 31st feeling fuzzy and sweet (unless you hate kids.. but I won’t go there), even without the cavities. I always jump at the opportunity to don a costume (Exhibit A), so this is certainly one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving. Family and laughter and more food than anyone can reasonably consume. I relish the traditions and the happiness as the season dissolves distances and brings friends and family close. And on the distant horizon, a faint glimmer of Christmas – my favorite holiday of the year.
Maybe it’s the relief from the heat. Maybe it’s the excitement of a haunted house. Maybe it’s the silly corn mazes. Or all of my favorite foods.
I think it is also nostalgic – fall always meant the return of school. After three months of our mother screaming at us to go play outside and the inevitable boredom that sank its claws come August, the cooling air promised new challenges and opportunities to stretch the grey matter. A chance to be teacher’s pet and to reunite with friends. Fresh information expanding my imagination and additional techniques to master. Can you tell I love learning?
We would also visit the pumpkin patch as a family. They had a flat rate for however many pumpkins a single person could carry a predetermined distance. So naturally, we would make the annual trek so we could load my father’s arms with six of the largest pumpkins we could find. He somehow managed every year, but that would probably explain his poor back now. It was all worth it for the subsequent mess of seeds and strands, resulting in vaseline-smeared jack-o-lanterns, their fangs and lopsided grins illuminated with tea candles, assembled on our front porch to await trick-or-treaters.
Nowadays, I can harness that reminiscent energy through photography, and nature is more than happy to provide me with a full palette of warm hues with which to paint. The air is refreshingly cool, and the streets are dappled in reds and yellows, the ground hidden beneath a patchwork of autumn. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be outside this weekend, snuggled in a cute jacket and light scarf, sipping a pumpkin-spiced something, and feeling the gentle crunch of dry leaves on the path, while reflecting on childhood memories and viewing the world through a scarlet and gold kaleidoscope.