The first few days of any new season are always my favorite. Four times a year possibility is given a name – winter, spring, summer, fall. Each arrives with its own unique scent, filling the air with the sweetness of a new beginning. Four times a year the wind carries in a gentle reminder: It is time, now, for change.
As autumn begins to ripen, I reach for sweaters and cozy socks. I wrap my fingers around cups of warm coffee and tea. I snuggle up under blankets with good books and good friends. I watch the trees ignite into reds and yellows and oranges. I use my brown boots to crunch brown leaves. These are a few of my favorite things. There is so much to fall for in autumn.
And on that first day, walking out of the house and needing to go back in for a jacket, everything opens in a way you had forgotten to remember. You are reminded of the great cycle – not just of the seasons of the earth, but of the seasons of your life, the great rising and falling of your happiness. You are reminded that change is always possible, and inevitable, and something to be welcomed even when it requires saying goodbye to something else. You are reminded of the way a simple breeze can transform you.
Our cheeks turn pink in the crisp air. Our minds race through memories of first days of school, of the feel of new notebooks and pens, of the warm embraces of friends reunited, sharing tales of summer adventures. We remember these days as sign posts in the long, winding roads of our history. We can feel how far we’ve come, and also how close we still remain to the people we once knew, and the people we once were. In those moments, we were beginning and ending something all at the same time. In remembering those moments, we do the same.
Fall is arriving. I can smell it. I can taste it. It envelops me as it has every year since I began. And yet, it is something new and different. It is the beginning of a specific season of my life that will never come again. It is the opportunity to look back and move forward in ways that will never be the same. It is a time to feel possible.
In autumn, I fall for the trees. I fall for apple-picking and knitted hats. I fall for bonfires and pumpkins. I fall for cuddling. I fall for the way the leaves greet their death by bursting forth in color. I fall for the way they gather beneath the trees as an invitation for children to come play. I fall for the way children play in them. I fall for the way I remember playing in them too, in those autumns long ago, feeling so happy and carefree and in love with everything. I fall for the way these old memories help change me into something new.
Four times a year I am reminded of the way life and death collide. One cannot exist without the other, like happiness and sadness, like grief and love. Four times a year I watch the earth transform itself into something familiar and something brand new. Four times a year I open the door and sense the wind is shifting.
This morning I opened the door and found fall waiting for me. I knew what it had come to say. It is time now to say goodbye to another summer and hello to another autumn. It is time now to fling open the door and fall deeply into your life. It is time, now, for change.