Fall Lives Deep in My Soul
Updated: Oct 13
Fall is the season that represents deep and lasting change for me. Maybe it’s because I was raised in New England, where the seasonal shift from summer to fall is like fireworks,
long-awaited and over too soon.
In California, where I live now, we have two seasons, hot and not so hot.
Alas, the seasons of my genetics are four!
As Southern California’s Fall (such as it is) approaches, I've been musing about the East Coast seasons of my youth.
The gifts of Spring develop slowly there, with snow, slush, rain, and unpredictable storms eventually giving way to a frantic push and rebirth! New green explodes from the ground to the treetops. And, of course, there’s the legendary Maple Tree sap run.
Spring is followed by hot, humid summers, mosquitos, horseflies, and wasps. You get the idea. The thick, warm summer air wraps you in a blanket of humidity stuffed with thunderstorms. The cicadas, crickets, and tree frogs are something you'll never forget hearing on a long summer night. It’s a primal orchestra.
Growing up there, fruits were only available in season, so each Summer offered her gifts of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, melons, peaches, blueberries, and apples, only once—in approximately that order. There was no rushing a perfect, juicy, unforgettable summer peach! We would eat them fresh-washed, skin on, over the sink, or risk soaking the entire front of our shirts with peach juice.
Of course, it’s not all bad, the summers are beautiful too, but a New England fall is spectacular.
The fall welcomed us with crisp cool mornings, a colorful kaleidoscope of leaves waving hello, and fresh-pressed apple cider fermenting on the porch steps. Warm afternoons were followed by wood-stove nights, apples, crisp, juicy, and not too sweet. If you can ever find Cortland apples, buy a bushel.
Fall begins slowly there; as the earth tilts, the sunlight weakens and spreads thin, the air cools, and the summer flowers die. Before long, like a child running pell-mell down a grassy slope, maple, beech birch, oak, sumac, and willow leaves riot, then spin drunkenly on the breeze, covering the ground with a carpet of purple, red, burgundy, brown, sage, yellow, orange, and every hue in between. One good rain with a bit of wind and the trees show their bare silhouettes against the cooling sunset.
The final harvest is accomplished, and the stalks brown in the fields; it’s over.
Winter is on her way.
The vibrance of the colors, the chilly nights and mornings, and the warm, shortening afternoons all exclaim, “Hurry! Hurry, before it’s all gone!” One last brisk rush of color urges me to tend the harvest of memories from the passing year.
Before you know it, it’s onto the holiday season and 2023. But for now, I want to savor my memories from 2022, the good, the bad, the joyful, the moments of despair, the journey through the underworld, and the cycle of the joyful return to life and love.
Wherever you are this fall, I hope you take a moment to enjoy the fresh chill in the air and the change of the season. May it inspire you to harvest your memories before charging into the holidays of 2022.