I’d mourn the loss of summer like a relationship that broke apart. Like an unrequited love that hurt. I didn’t have a choice in the seasonal change, in the way the heat escaped the air at night. I didn’t have a say in my goodbye to the atlantic ocean, the chlorine-soaked hair, the impromptu joy rides at 10 pm, the freedom.
Back-to-school ads created nervous tension, emotional nausea. Staples was not my friend. I’d cringe at the thought of acquiring a five-subject notebook and preparing for another year of math and science lab. I identified with that Green Day song — even though they were surely lamenting something else entirely. Wake me up when September ends.
Perhaps it was the onset of college that portrayed September in a brand new light. Maybe it was the New Paltz campus grounds that emitted a classic charm; the red and orange trees, the crunchy leaves that settled on the main quad, the mountains in the distance. Or maybe it was the soothing White Chocolate Mocha that traveled down my throat on a stormy afternoon in the village Starbucks. Whatever it was, I finally got it. I surrendered to autumn’s pull, to its magic.
Autumn is when I can gauge a sense of comfort and warmth and partake in the pumpkin spice fervor. Autumn is when I’m able to bite into the ripest, reddest apple and actually care what it tastes like.
Autumn is when I’ll ogle with superlatives at the sight of teeny pumpkins or scarecrows at the local street fair, inhale the scent of cinnamon from the candle on my desk, and immerse myself in Halloween spirit. Jack-O-Lantern Festivals. Haunted Houses. Holding onto others for dear life at said haunted houses.
Autumn’s allure appears a bit bolder than the rest. It’s the season for the fickle-minded as temperatures alternate between pleasantly cool, strangely hot, and flat-out cold. Trees are in an enchanting state of transition, a state of grace, as the leaves trickle down to the ground. They’re sometimes slushy and wet from rain, but sometimes crisp and quintessentially perfect for kicking piles with our feet.
And we, too, can become alive and vibrant, right alongside nature’s real-life version of a Van Gogh painting. We, too, can ebb and flow, emulating the season’s essence, the crux of what it’s all about. It’s as if autumn grants us permission to be okay with flux. To be okay with uncertainty.
I now smile when the heat escapes the air at night.