Saturday, September 05, 2009

Autumn Reflections

In my part of the world, spring is an elusive maiden and summer a short-tempered brat. We look forward to the warm seasons through all the dark, cold months. When spring hits, it lasts about twenty minutes. Right after that it gets HOT!

Autumn comes more gradually, like a gentle and kindly aunt. It encourages us to take time to catch our breath, to look back a little, to take stock on what we've done, where we've succeeded and failed. We reflect on what we wanted to accomplish during all those glorious days of summer, and didn't get done. When the leaves turn and life closes in a bit, it offers opportunity to reflect, consider.

When the leaves hang heavy and red, when the air smells like apples and holds a tang of the coming chill, it is time for a picnic. Fried chicken, salad and a pie don't seem so much of a hassle to whip up. The salads and cold fruits of summer yield to more robust fare, but we can still take it outdoors and enjoy before the weather nips at our cheeks and makes outdoor life less desirable.

Our hardwood trees take a two-week breath as summer ebbs, hold their green a second longer, then burst into glorious tan, gold, russet and every hue in between. If the giant trees can take a breath for a moment, why shouldn't I?

When autumn comes, I regain my spark to create. This tendency is a hangover from my school days, when everything in September became new and challenging. Stories form in my head and beg for life on the computer screen. Characters I thought abandoned whisper new perspectives. "Come on!" they whine. "It's fall now, time for us to shine!"

This year I'm building a medieval lighthouse for my front yard. I have no formed plan for this impulse, but I know it will come together once I find a concept and choose materials. I am determined it will shine its gentle solar-powered light before the dark, long nights of winter. I believe it will tell me a story, before it's done.

John Denver, in one of his songs, said, "To change is to be new. To be new is to be young again." Come on, autumn! Time to celebrate.

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