Fall and spring are, without contest, my two favorite seasons. One lulls you into quiet contemplation and the other into a vibrant rebirth. Both offer a cornucopia of colors and smells. Today, as I wandered about my yard, I kicked about through the thick bed of fallen leaves. The ground was ablaze with golds and yellows and browns and reds. And there, standing alone in that sea of color was a tiny viola, the echo of spring.
The seasons in nature often mirror the seasons in our lives. There are ebbs and flows, and often a whisper of the past peeks up to remind us of where we’ve been. As I walked about the yard, I couldn’t help but think about the number of years spent tending those garden beds and the memories that were planted and rooted there; the plants each daughter chose to be her special plant; the flower selections for this child or that; the joy in seeing the first sprouts of a vegetable plant emerge. And, the laughter, so much laughter was planted, took root, and has grown in our yard.
Seasons change, but the echoes of those sweet memories linger.
As a California transplant, one of the best gifts of living in Colorado is the seasons. Real seasons: not just gradual transitions from sunny and warm to cool and rainy before it’s sunny and warm again. Yes, the ocean is lovely, and I do miss it. But, living at the base of the Rocky Mountains brings 4 very different views out my window every year, prompting me to tap into the transitions going on inside me at that moment.
The trees of winter stand patiently, like stick figures jutting up from the blanket of white, their bare branches reaching into the grey skies. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays has passed, rhythms slow. The garden lays dormant, days shorten, and thick down comforters invite extra hours of sleep. It is the season of rest.
A first glimpse of the bright yellow crocus announces the arrival of spring. Plans for the new garden are set in motion, soil tilled, seeds planted, and the songs of birds return to the air. Trees burst into shades of green as tulips and daffodils fill out the garden. Clothing is lighter and so is the spirit. It is the season of rebirth.
The days of summer are filled with the smell of sunscreen, the laughter of children free from school, and hours of daylight that extend well past a small child’s bedtime. Long summer days are meant for family vacations, ice cream cones, swimming pools, and star-gazing. The parched earth begs for water as the garden grows thick with produce, and the sweltering heat encourages lazy afternoons of nothingness but a good book, a hammock, and a tall glass of tea. It is the season of unfettered play.
The rumble of school busses and the gentle rustle of leaves herald the coming of fall. The days begin to shorten as children and parents settle back into routine and crock-pots reemerge on the counters. The morning air is crisp, and the fresh apples crisper. Fall offers a time to reflect on the year (almost) gone by, and be thankful. It is the season of introspection.
Unlike the subtle shifts from spring into summer and fall into winter, spring and fall push and pull at me, forcing me to step outside my comfort zone and into the growth zone. Both spring and fall bring offerings of beauty and growth but, of the two, I love fall. Truly, deeply love fall best. Always have. Each of its 3 months, September, October, and November, plentiful with treasure. Fall, like spring for me, is more than just a fresh view out my window; it is an event, a mental, and often physical, shift that takes place inside my soul.
September reestablishes order to the day. The excitement over a new beginning is electric. Classes resume and new unmarked notebooks are replete with possibility. Sunday afternoons are dedicated to football once again. In October, hearty meals simmer and bowls of crisp apples beg to be wrapped in caramel. The last leaves fall from the trees, a garden gate is left open after the final harvest, and the beds are left bare for the long winter’s rest while stashes of candy are carefully sorted and traded on Halloween night. November brings a renewed focus on gratitude, toasty fires, and quiet periods of reflection as the snow muffles the outside world. The bunnies have retreated to their burrows and thick sweaters warm the skin and the soul.
Oh, so many reasons to love fall…
The colors. The golds mixed with the blazing reds.
Crisp air and bright blue skies.
Jumping in leaf piles.
Candles that smell like mulled cider and a stack of books.
Large bowls of popcorn. (OK, this is really year round for me.)
Crisp apples with melted caramel.
Warm sweaters and the crunch of the first snow.
The stark contrast of bare branches against the late afternoon sky.
My husband’s childlike love of Halloween and pumpkin everything (lattes, muffins, bread, pie…)
And of course, my Broncos!
These reasons, and more, are why, above all, it’s always fall!