“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~author/philosopher Albert Camus
Autumn: the season I love the most. I get a little giddy at the prospect of bundling up in a favorite sweater, hat and coat to go out on a walk through a cool, blustery afternoon among the blowing leaves. What is it that makes autumn leaves look as though they have been injected with neon? They are so striking against a dark grey or bright blue sky. I never get tired of seeing autumn leaves.
This time of year my mind turns to those things I’ve not thought about since April. I stash all my pastel colored t-shirts, sandals and shorts in the back of the drawers and closet and happily bring out my sweaters, all in deeply saturated purples, burnt oranges, golden yellows, chocolate browns and deep greens, along with my scarves, hats, long pants and well-weathered leather boots. I run through the list of the various ingredients for the hardy soups and stews I’ll concoct in the Dutch oven I stashed behind all the other pots and pans sometime last spring. I look forward to community fundraiser u-pick pumpkin patch/corn maze events on a blue-sky weekend, when the sun finally feels more casually at ease after a long summer of its overbearing attitude. And I love harvest “Octoberfest” festivals, Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. They give the season a particular vibrancy, different from the upcoming holiday season. There’s something about fall events that feels so happy, cozy, warm, easy and very, very inviting.
I am pretty much the only one I know in my circle of friends and family who still looks forward to celebrating Halloween and All Saints Day (or Dia de los Muertos), rather than thinking of it as something you do to have fun with the kids. Whatever the reason I still enjoy these events, I know it started in childhood.
As a kid, it was all about the trick-or-treat costume. I was obsessed with playing dress-up, so trick-or-treating meant I got to go whole-hog into making a costume. I would think about it for weeks and reveled in planning what I was going to be and what the whole get-up would look like. There was absolutely no way I would tolerate a store-bought get-up, or just throwing on a sheet cut with two holes for eyes. Boring! My sister’s were OK with all that, but not me.
This was tough on my mother, the queen of the suburban bourgeoisie. Fortunately she was a clothes horse and saved many of her fancy outfits from her “days of wine and roses” in the 1950s. Her petticoat’d silk cocktail dresses made the perfect ball gown on me. She also had many other kinds of get-ups from that era that worked perfectly as a gypsy, wicked witch, or Mexican Folklorico dancer. A couple of years she took me shopping at a “masquerade store.” I was in heaven. I still love getting all done up for a Halloween gathering, make up and all, given the opportunity.
The only thing about the season I do not entirely embrace is football or soccer. Going to games—high school, college or the pros—is such a right of passage for the season, but I am not big fan of either game. I wish I was, because everyone who is, is always so excited and having the best time. The farthest I’ve committed to becoming a fan is accepting invitations to viewing parties or tailgate gatherings, but only when the home team is playing. At least then I have a little something to pique my interest.
Everyone has a season they love, even poor ol’ winter. I live in a pretty temperate climate, so winter is not the harsh experience others can’t wait to get out from under. The occasional snow is a fun event rather than an exhausting and miserable daily drudge. Nor is summer as insufferable as it is for those in the deserts or tropics. I enjoy seeing spring emerge from the wet, dull brown/grey of winter and the arrival of summer brings out a yearning for weekend getaways, dinners on the patio and getting out-of-doors. But all-in-all, autumn is the best of the bunch.