Friday, August 22, 2008

The Anticipation of Fall

For the past week or so, a hint of fall has been in the air. The daylight hours, although slowly dwindling, have still been summery and warm, but the nights and especially the mornings have had that particular crispness that I always associate with brightly-colored leaves, cooking soup, sitting by the fire, and reading really good books. The squirrels sense the shift, too, and already have started bustling around to collect their winter stashes (much to the delight of Jacob, my squirrel-hunting dog, as this greatly improves his odds for a successful catch). I've noticed this week that people around me have started buzzing about these and all the other little changes they observe as we march toward the autumn. It is so interesting who notices what -- some folks focus on light and temperature, others on the activity of animals and insects, others on changes in plant life, and still others on the general shift in energy that they have been feeling. The true connoisseurs of fall notice all these things and more.

I truly delight in all the little signs that fall is drawing near, and the group exchange of observations on that topic warms my heart. For me the fall is the most energizing and exhilarating of the seasons; everything is just better in the fall -- my senses are heightened (and they have so much to take in), my mind is unusually clear, and my body is grateful for relief from the summer heat. Although I welcome the arrival of each season in its due course, fall is the only one that I eagerly anticipate, and my anticipation begins at the exact moment that I get that first whiff of seasonal change.

In my anticipation this year, I have been reflecting on how the fall, in addition to being a time of transition for the earth, also has been a time of great personal transition for me over the years. Last year I quit my job in September and got engaged three days later. My fiance and I started dating the September before that. In the fall of 2004 I finished a major regulation-writing campaign at work, which was the most rewarding, but also the most draining, project I have ever completed. This fall could well mark another personal transition, as I start looking to re-enter the workforce after a very interesting year-long break.

There is one sense in which this fall will be different from all its predecessors, though. In the past, I welcomed transition on the one hand but feared the unknown elements it brought with it on the other. I spent a lot of my energy tilting at windmills in an attempt to know the unknowable and control the uncontrollable. One of the best parts of my year away from the rat race is that it has largely cured me of my desire for certainty and all the needless fears that such a desire can tend to produce. Believe me, that alone far outweighs the loss in income! This year, for the first time ever, I will be able to greet the fall, and whatever changes it may bring with it, with an open mind, an open heart, and a healthy dose of curiosity that is not diminished by fear. No matter what actually comes to pass, I have a feeling that this may just be my best fall yet!

1 comment:

Reya Mellicker said...

I still long for certainty, every single day. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

I had no idea it was only 3 days after you left your job that you and J. were engaged. Wow!!

Onwards & upwards, indeed!