I love this season.
That first day where you step out and notice the scorching summer sun has given way to a gentle chill. A delicate unfolding, a subtle shifting, a shedding of summer skins.
The deep ambers and gold draw my attention back to the present moment as the tiny sailboats drift through my field of vision. In that small space between blistering hot and intolerably cold, every single moment feels like a savory surprise, a special gift. As the breeze whispers sweet nothings and the dry leaves flutter in response, I can’t help but feel eagerly alive.
The smell of damp fallen leaves and steaming soy chai bring a coziness to even the most piercing chill. It’s a season of open screen doors and pumpkin-scented candles. Oversized sweaters paired with svelte leggings. And, of course, the boots.
My boots come out of storage the day temperature dips below 90, sometimes a week early if I’m especially excited. I wear them almost daily (even when they don’t match), happily clomping about, just as I did when I was a young girl with my killer set of white cowboy boots.
At this particular junction of seasons, recognition is especially keen. The new year is within sight, yet there is still time to make a change. The cold nudges us toward closeness, both physically and emotionally. It is a time for opening windows and opening hearts.
As we circle and cycle, the day marking my 25th journey around the sun stealthily, yet steadily approaches. I anticipate she’ll sneak up behind me, tossing a confetti of foliole as she, quite predictably, does every year. The falling leaves feel more celebratory than the cake and gifts and well-wishes. The intention for this to be The Best Year Yet feels tangible. I feel wide-eyed, ready, inspired.
As October meanders toward November, with December close behind, the possibility and treasure of the day feels greater than ever. Memories of the massive leaf piles, expansive pumpkin patches, and family camping trips amongst the saffron skies of Lake Tahoe flood my memory. I imagine growing old–with a lover or best friend–and sitting for hours in silence, watching young families and squirrels and a slow-moving man with a study wood cane pass by beneath a colorful canopy. I dream of the contentment in mere simplicity, and dwell in the discovery of everyday awe.
One day, perhaps this time next year, I hope to live somewhere with seasons and colors and naturally filtered sunlight. I want to see the Real Fall, not this Desert’s sad imitation. Small brown leaves clinging to cactus spines spark my imagination and build my anticipation for day trips up north and some autumnal dreamland I will one day call Home.
I worry, sometimes, whether Fall is something I may one day take for granted. What if, in some future early-October, the colors cease to excite me? Perhaps, one day, my boots will no longer feel mighty, sexy, and symbolic.
I wonder if I’ll be disappointed. I wonder if I move somewhere with trees and seasons and colors and high winds, if my potently evocative vision will be shattered. I wonder if my hopes are too ethereal, my expectations too high, my mind too rampantly imaginative.
What is Fall, really? Perhaps it’s not just about the changing trees and pumpkin spice lattes. Perhaps, more so, it’s symbolic: an invitation for change, an opportunity to shed Who You Were and make room for Who You Are Becoming. If that is the case–which I am beginning to suspect it is–I don’t think I could ever be disappointed by this woodsy intermediary. This place where the new, which has grown old, can ceremoniously be released to make way for the newest cycle of life, the in utero Spring yet to be born.
Maybe this season is truly just a reminder that all of us are living and dying and changing just as much as the world around us. That must be why I am so joyfully fond of Fall.