Fall is the season usually associated with decay, loss or the process of dying. And yes, there is a lot of this happening. Trees are losing their leaves, flowers are no longer blooming, and butterfly-sightings are now replaced with those of bees struggling to take flight.
But this isn’t what comes to mind when I think of fall. For me, fall is when everything comes alive. The leaves transform into a vibrant display of colors, making their previous shades of green seem dull and lifeless. The air becomes crisp enough to get my attention, but warm enough to beckon me outside. And there is of course the added bonus of well, all things ‘fall’- mums and pumpkin spice, warm sweaters and my favorite boots, cozy fires and hot apple cider.
The only thing I find tragic about Fall is that it’s departure always comes too soon. But I suppose that is what makes it all the more beautiful; I know these things I love are fleeting. I hear the crunch of the leaves that have already made their descent under my feet. I add more and more layers as the sun provides less and less warmth. But although there’s an undercurrent of melancholy that threatens to undermine the beauty of the present moment, it’s kept at bay because each day the colors of my favorite tree are more brilliant than the day before.
So despite that fact that I have lost so many things I loved over the past year, or maybe because I have, this fall isn’t about loss. For me, it is about finding what I thought would never come. It is about redemption.
The season that came before was something I so desperately want to leave behind. No matter how beautiful summer was, for me it was hell. Each day bled into the next, all the same, all filled with a sense of dread for the next to arrive. Because I knew I would feel as terrible as the day before.
Until that first morning when I walked outside and felt a subtle chill in the air, and with it, a tinge of something that had seemed to evaporate with the heat of summer. Hope. I felt some semblance of
Hope. Change was inevitable. And summer was over.
This year, fall arrived without hesitation, setting the stage with a stretch of rain that made the days that followed seem even more magical. Temperatures dropped and the leaves took their cue, transforming into colors like I’ve never seen. I had no choice but to finally look up, the convergence of seasons revealing the gifts that I simply could not see in the absence of perspective- the warmth of the sun on my skin, the changing colors of the leaves that will soon be gone, the fragrance of summer flowers still lingering as I walk by. Finally, a brief and welcomed reminder that this pain is fleeting and will eventually be replaced with something beautiful… if I choose to see it as such.
Have I found it? Redemption? I can’t say for sure just yet. But I do know this: you will never see colors as brilliant as the first ones you see when you emerge from the dark.