Thursday, October 11, 2012

I love autumn.  It's by far my favorite season, which is sort of funny when you live in Southern California because if you plucked out any old day of the year around here, you probably couldn't tell much difference between a day in March or July or October.  Nevertheless, I detect a *hint* of crispness among the clouds, telling me that it must, indeed, be autumn.

It rained this morning for the first time in I don't know how long.  It was cool and refreshing and just fall-like enough that I busted out the old orange flannel shirt and heated up some hot cider.  While I still have pool toys on my dining room table waiting to be put away for the year (after all, we went swimming only last week!) I am determined to initiate our home fully into autumnal bliss by firing up pumpkin scented candles and crafting various fall activities with my girls.  So far, we've managed to make fall sugar cookies and a rather epic (if I do say so myself) Halloween alphabet that would scare any pre-school teacher into wondering if I was trying to steal her job (well, maybe if that pre-school teacher was a zombie witch monster...I'll admit it's creepy factor even exceeded my own expectations).

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, 
as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
John Donne

Ahhh, fall. What is it about this season that makes all things seem more nostalgic and magical?  Maybe the cooler weather makes me miss the days of my childhood, watching the leaves change, or coming home after school to the smell of a fire burning in the fireplace.  Maybe it's because this season is perfectly nestled between the relaxing nonchalant of summer and the restless chaos of the holidays.  Or maybe it's just the fact that all-things-autumn happen to be wrapped in the cozy warm hues of orange and red and brown, welcoming us into the beginning of the end of yet another year gone by.

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as 
autumn sunshine by staying in the house.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Something about it makes me happy and weepy all the same.  I sip cider and feel a little more in love.  I put on my boots and get a little kick in my step.  I carve a pumpkin and suddenly I've created a new memory that makes my life resemble a Norman Rockwell painting just a little bit more.  I love it.  And it makes me hug my girls a little closer and snuggle them a little longer with each chilly day that passes.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were 
a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
George Eliot

As the evenings get darker earlier and earlier, it feels like time is speeding up.  Maybe that's the real trick to autumn.  As the days end earlier, it feels like time is more and more precious.  The dark, cool evenings remind me that nothing lasts forever, and especially not autumn.  This season is here for merely weeks in California.  There are no trees telling me when the season has come and gone, no pile of leaves to signify the next stage of the calendar.  There's only a wisp of some breeze and few rainy mornings before the hub-bub of Christmas is upon us and this grateful feeling has been whisked away into a frenzy of holiday stress.

 "Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined, 
and spreads a common feast for all that live.”
James Thomson

But, maybe this year will be different.  Maybe, this year, I can try to keep a little of this autumn bliss in my heart for a while.  Maybe, this year, I can put the iPhone down and stare into my girls' faces and just listen to the rain instead.  Maybe, this year, I can stop worrying about capturing every moment on camera, and just look and be and enjoy the present as it is happening.  Maybe, this year, I can let go of the holidays stress (the presents, the money, the food, the weight, the family, the travel, the work) before it gets hold of me.

“ Swinging on delicate hinges the 
autumn leaf almost off the stem.”
Jack Kerouac

I love autumn.  I wish it would last year-round, but then again, maybe that's what makes it so special.  I can't change the seasons.  I can't stop time.  But, I can focus on who and what I love, on what's really important, and what will serve me best in the long run.  This autumn, I'm trying hard to soak in these short, beautiful days of wonder.  Trying hard to breath more deeply and love more genuinely and speak more thoughtfully.  Trying hard to not try too hard.  Trying hard to be okay with that.  Trying hard to be present and available and as transparent as the orange autumn sun that saturates that smoggy, pink, hazy California horizon.

 Maybe, this year, autumn will last.

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