pumpkins in autumn light

The Meaning of Autumn

Stepped outside today and realized…it’s autumn. The summer drifted away with hardly a whisper.

Summer, when it’s here, seems almost stationary. For a moment around July 19 or so, time might stop altogether. September will arrive, we’re sure of it. But…later. The summer is now.

Autumn? It lasts about 37 minutes – Halloween, Thanksgiving, the holidays. The quickening pace is almost hypnotic. The cooling air suggests something is coming – autumn is about what’s up ahead, what’s on the way. Nobody stops to just “be” in the fall; the thing, the excitement, is always becoming. (But that thing is not the winter; we deny the winter. Let’s agree to simply not think about it.)

Notice, in the photograph of the pumpkins, the quality of light. That’s autumn light. It has a deeper hue, a softness, a reflective quality. Summer light is a flat glare, shadowless. Autumn light is dappled and nuanced.

While summer sun is timeless, autumn rays have learned the finite nature of things. This awareness, which can’t be learned without the passage of time, carries a sense of loss, even a tincture of grief. But this knowledge grants something far deeper. A presence, an understanding, that our moments (few as they are) have value. This matters. There’s something in life that isn’t visible to the naked eye, something that can be felt only if paid for with precious cost.

That is, those casual summer days have flowed so easily by; they’re gone now. But, if we listen carefully, the music is now more beautiful; in fact, yeah, remarkably more so. It has a new resonance, a new power, and…something else. Something that can never be put into words. It won’t last forever – we’ve learned that – but damn if it’s not gorgeous right now.

And now, let the sprint to the holidays continue apace….