By Laura Mills
Recently my husband and I discussed the change in seasons and agreed we’re both partial to the fall—and I know we’re in the majority at least among people we know. Why does fall delight so many? I’m sure the color changes evident in this part of the country are a major source of sentiment, but after considering the question, I thought of a few additional possibilities….
First, by the end of September more frequent cooler temperatures bring a unique excitement. While winter transitions to spring so gradually I barely notice it, summer transitions to fall seemingly overnight. And it inspires an annual ritual in my house: the digging out of sweatshirts and jeans, socks and blankets. Of course, we do experience that occasional unseasonable warmth well into the season, but overall fall distinguishes itself from summer quite dramatically.
Second, fall is particularly fun. It involves back-to-school, the culmination of baseball, the beginning of college and pro-football, and of course the anticipation of year-end holidays. Which prefaces the third possibility: fall lends itself to my most favorite comfort foods like soups, casseroles, and various pumpkin and apple goodies. More than at any other time of year, I can taste the effort and nurturing that went into growing and preparing what I eat.
Finally, and definitely most profoundly, watching the natural world progress into its final yearly stage makes me pause. The act of passing into dormancy, of drawing back into the earth, reminds me of life’s transience. And that in turn, more than anything during any other season, reminds me how blessed I am to be here.
As the weather transitions at this time of year, I start to droop much like the potted flowers on my doorstep. I hunch over, cross my arms, bundle up as much as I can, curl up into the smallest space possible at every opportunity, and desire more than anything to stay indoors until the next warm, sunny day.
So when Nature blesses us with that once-in-a-while Golden Day, I rejoice. We've had a few recently: fall days when the sun highlights everything with an extra glow and the slightly-more-comfortable-than-usual air hugs us like an old friend when we step outdoors. They're days when we almost donít mind heading to the yard to rake the lawn. Such days enliven me, and it seems many others, for I truly feel an all-around happy vibe as with sudden enthusiasm I go about my usual activities. I think at some level, on these days most of us feel some sense of having received a special gift.
At least for the time being, which is, I think, the most crucial aspect of Golden Days. Itís what makes them so precious. Like so many wonders in our lives, theyíre here and then gone. Today might be golden, but tomorrow might easily be gray. If we miss our opportunity to relish what Nature gives us at the moment of the gift.
Every day, golden or not, take note of the ìtime beingî and really live it. Never just watch from indoors as it passes.