I know most people who read this are looking for some kernel of wisdom to be gleaned or some specific situation they can relate to and feel like we’re all in this aging process together. This isn’t going to be one of those columns! I just wanted to spend a few column inches this week and discuss Fall, that’s Autumn to you and me and my favorite season.
I know that most people detest the end of summer and the thought of Fall and god forbid Winter. To those people it’s the mere thought of snow and cold and being trapped in doors that pushes them over the edge. To me it’s the complete opposite. Once the days start to shorten and the air gets slightly crisper I feel my mood turn lighter. I know I’ll no longer sweat uncomfortably on walk from my driveway to my sidewalk, allergies will no longer be a problem, I won’t have to contend with shorts and flip flops on grown men. Almost right away I go from being an asshole who, as Dennis Leary put it, “walks around saying how about this heat” to a guy with whom you’d actually want to share a beer. Defying all laws of logic—I actually get more creative during the fall. Ideas which dry up in the summer suddenly become clear. Fall is the start of what I consider the good times, from the time I was a kid they lined up, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas-the trinity of holidays—candy, get togethers and toys, holy crap what could be better. Add to this heavy winter blankets to snuggle or, if you were lucky, do other things under.
As a kid I loved Fall. It’s no secret that my family looked dysfunctional to dysfunctional families but before it all went to shit and the world turned upside down I have wonderful memories of walking with my mom and dad in the woods behind our house and picking leaves to save between pieces of waxed paper. When it got colder and began to snow we’d ride sleds behind our house with the other neighborhood kids. Let me stop you, there is absolutely no reason to get analytical and think this is why I like the Fall, it’s untrue. Trust me, I know what psychological traumas lay hidden beneath the surface and this doesn’t come anywhere near the top, OK? This is just a few of the reasons I love the fall.
In junior high and for a small portion of high school I lived in Conneticut. Let me assure you, there is nothing like New England in the fall. You can’t imagine the colors of the leaves, shades of red and purple you’d never imagine unless you’ve seen them. The streets were all wide and the trees and leaves painted a picture only Norman Rockwell could have done justice. In my town there was a lake in the middle that all the local business were built around. It looked just like the first half of a Stephen King novel before the darkness invaded. Walking through the town or in the woods with the leaves falling all around are memories I’ll always cherish.
In recent years I’ve discovered that the Jewish New Year is always around the start of Autumn. It’s made the season that much more magical. The very idea that you can atone for your sins from the previous year and start the new year with a clean slate is one I find very intriguing. I’m not a religious guy but if I was I think I’d find reformed Judaism a great faith to embrace, plus I love apples and honey so that’s a bonus!
In all seriousness, much like the Jewish new year, I’ve always looked at Autumn as the time when the bad things from the year die away and fall from your life. Over the winter months those things decay and give new life to a better tomorrow. That is why I love fall. It’s the promise of a new and better tomorrow that’s contained in those fallen leaves and short nights. And, since most people look at as a time when everything is dead and covered in ice and snow it’s sort of my own Private Idaho. We’ll get back on track next week with more about why it sucks growing old or how the kids today don’t get it or something like that. For the next few days though I’ll be enjoying the fall. If you’re interested maybe we can go sit in a pumpkin patch and wait for the Great Pumpkin, I’ll bring the York Peppermint Patties.