"Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!"
Autumn (Resignation) (1926)
It runs deep within me, this love of fall. I was born just before Thanksgiving. M and I started dating in the early autumn. My first baby was born in the fall. My third baby was born in the fall.
And while these events in my life do give me a sway toward this season, the last quarter of the year has always drawn me in. Ironically, I didn't spend the majority of my childhood in a wooded neighborhood spectacularly painted in autumn reds and golds and oranges, carpets of fallen leaves flooring the yards. I mainly grew up in the high desert of California. Joshua trees don't change color. The sparse foliage generally stays a desert-camouflage brown. But each year, the nights would become dry and crisp, the Tehachapi Mountains purple on the horizon sprinkled in an early snow fall, and the sky would be released from the summer heat haze to reveal a palette of the most achingly blue heights. Blue, blue, blue against the neutral tones of the desert floor. Cool mornings at the bus stop, blue sky shining in early light, the new year of school still fresh, Pee Chee folders still stiff and unadorned but for their tennis player and track runner pictures. Fall.
Fast forward to the first decade and a half of my marriage, my entre into motherhood to my brood. My years in Northeastern Oklahoma yielded picture post-card fall seasons. Pumpkin patches, homes adorned with hay bales and scarecrows. Hay rides. Forests of trees crowned with a riot of autumn colors. I loved it. We usually hosted Thanksgiving for the family, often holding a triple birthday party alongside for 1 of 8, 3 of 8 and me.
Flip the pages of the family album again and find us celebrating the season seaside, beginning a new journey in a new locale. I found that while I desperately missed the more traditional fall elements of my Oklahoma life, there was a return to looking at autumn skies reminiscent of my childhood. Autumn at the beach features bluer skies, softer sand, better beach combing, long stretches of deserted seashore. I found once again a deep love for the changing golden light of mid-equinox skies, of azure and dun, sand dunes rolling down to green water and sapphire heavens.
And now I celebrate this season in yet another new city, another new region. The temperatures remain warm, the trees still clothed. But the light is gilded, halcyon sunbeams spotlighting clearer firmament. For me, this seems the New Year, this time. Perhaps it is the remembrance of the genesis of the school year, fresh pencils, fresh notebooks. Perhaps it is an appreciation for Rosh Hashanah, the traditional Jewish new year. Perhaps, no matter where I am living, no matter the presence of changing leaves or perennial cactus, the corner pumpkin patch or lack thereof, perhaps it is the spectacular play of light and cerulean that has always followed me in autumn glory, a memory of wave and particle, the planet's yearly rendezvous with this side of the Sun. And that is the one thing I have been able to recognize through the years, regardless of where I may reside.
So what about you? What is your favorite season? Why? And to my international readers, I would love to hear about your seasons and what is traditional during those times. What memories do you have, what 'speaks' that favorite season to you? Is it holidays, traditions, a love of the hot weather, a love of the cold? Feel free to post a comment or to write your own post, coming back here to post the url of your post in the Mister Linky's box. Can't wait to hear what season defines you!