Falling for Autumn

What is it about dying trees, cold winds, and shorter days that drives me to wake up with the sun and go for a run with a toque on? It can’t only be me. Well, maybe you’re not a runner or a morning person–that’s OK–there’s plenty of other things autumn is good for, other than chilly sunrises.

I've heard people say that autumn makes them sad, and yet (many) others say that it’s their favorite season. The anticipation leading up to Spring and Summer is hopeful and light, and for good reason too (Canada!), but the anticipation of Autumn and Winter can be more like varying degrees of dread for some. While I do prefer sweaters to sunscreen I have nothing against Summer; it’s great and I enjoy it to the fullest. Still, there is something about the onset of autumn that inspires me. Fall is my favorite season precisely because it makes me a bit sad. Let me explain.

Like the conflict in a good tragedy, Fall, and the Winter that follows it, is unstoppable (for those living in a temperate climate). Bad things are going to happen. You will need to find those gloves that you put away in a special place but, tragically, have forgotten their location. Just when it looks like you’ll need to buy a new pair for the third year in a row, you pat yourself down in your winter coat and, what’s this? You find your gloves in the pockets. Oh yes, you are a smart one. How could you have doubted yourself? With your hands thus outfitted you can now venture out into the increasingly belligerent weather confidently.

This anticipation of difficulty is what I find so attractive about Fall. Historically this feeling had more bite for the average person because the concept of the harvest wasn't just a concept–it was a matter of life and death. Rest after struggle is a particularly beautiful kind of rest, and I get a slice of that every autumn in a sort of microcosm, just like that little anecdote about the lost gloves. Necessity is closer at hand during the change of seasons.

Autumn inspires me because it anticipates change; changes that are more like challenges. While challenges like staying warm and fed are stripped of their risk for a city dweller like myself, they thankfully retain most of comforting reward. Snuggles, warmly spiced treats, and casseroles are definitely big players in Fall’s popularity. There is more though, like that melancholy feeling falling leaves can give. In addition to tea, autumn drives me to make things. I get all creative, and in a way that (I think) is distinct from other times of the year. Summertime demands I be active and outdoors while Winter can often be an energy suck, but autumn quickens things with a feeling of so-much-to-do-but-little-time-to-do-it.

There’s not much time left actually. The fall passes quickly and soon shopping malls will be prodding us to quasi-Christmas consumerism and no one will want to go out because of the snow. This season lives on borrowed time every year and it’s shorter than most, so don’t go wasting it. Slow down but don’t start hibernating indoors just yet, there’s autumn sunrises to catch (or sunsets, if that’s your thing) and finite beauty to contemplate.

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