Alright, I know by the calendar, we're still several more weeks away from the official arrival of fall. And where I live, even if the calendar says so, doesn't MAKE it so! So how, you might ask, how can I be so sure that fall really is a comin'.
Well, yesterday when Larry brought in the mail, he brought with him proof positive that Fall 2012 is right around the corner. He casually tossed the pile of mail in my chair, but I knew as soon as I scanned that pile that it was true. There amongst the pamphlets from Holland America tempting me with another cruise, the newsletter from our local Food Bank, a free offer from American Express for an appointment book and desk set was all the proof I needed to set my heart aflutter! Yes, it was the Early Fall 2012 Edition of the Blair catalog!
I was so thrilled to have this wonderful piece of news come tumbling out of my mail box, that I set it aside temporarily until I could really examine it's pages, gaze upon the turtlenecks, corduroy pants, fleece jackets and demi-boots offered for sale. And with FREE SHIPPING yet! Pinch me, I'm dreaming! You see, nothing announces the arrival of fall to me like the fall fashions that immediately transports us out of the tee shirts and shorts of summer, the neon and pastel shades better suited to 99 degree days and straight into the bluer skies and crisper air that is only experienced in the fall.
When people are asked what their favorite season is, invariably, they will tell you it is either the spring or the fall. Oh, I guess there are probably a few die-hards out there who actually LIKE the summer or prefer the winter. But do we look for signs of either of these seasons? Not really. The ones we look for, hope for and long for are spring and fall. We look eagerly for the first robins of spring. Those first few shoots of green or dandelions in the lawn. And for fall, well, we eagerly anticipate the first cool days, the smell of burning oak or hickory and yes, even something so simple, and yet predictive, as a catalog in the mail box.
I ask myself why do I love the fall so much? By rights I could really not like it. For it was on a bright, crisp fall day in November 1967, one day after my 18th birthday that we buried my father. I still remember the dress I wore that day, the surreal way everything felt and looked. I actually thought for a minute that day that time stood still and that we'd be standing in that cemetery forever right there with him. I never imagined that my life and the life of my family would move on to have the experiences both good and bad that would come our way.
And so I look up today and realize how much time has passed by, how far away that place is where he is buried, both in miles and in memory. It is that knowledge why I love the fall so much. It reminds me of the passage of time, the never ending flow to life. Time, as they say, marches on. The fall urges me to reflect, to recount the good times, as well as the bad. It calls me to account with what I've done with my life because the chapter I am in is about to close and another will begin shortly.
More important, however, than just reflecting and reminiscing, I think the fall is our opportunity to renew our commitment to life. It is our chance, one last chance before this year is done, to realign our priorities and try one more time to get things right. Life is a struggle for every one of us. None of us has the answer to every question and what I find that works for me may not be right for someone else. I guess the important thing to remember is that it is our journey that matters, our attempts to figure out the big questions that should be guide posts. When I anticipate the arrival of fall, I look with eagerness to the opportunity to make closing arguments for this chapter, while jotting down the opening remarks for the next one to follow.
I hope you find the time this fall to reflect on your year and the things you've done to make your story count. If you find that somehow, you just didn't quite make it go the way you intended, that is the beauty of the fall. It's the time to plan, to think, to dream.
I have a bag of mulling spices ready to make a steaming mug of cider, my order to that catalog will be on its way soon. I'm watching for those first hints of turning leaves and the smell of wood burning in a fireplace. And soon, very soon, I'll be pondering what it means to be alive and living in such interesting and amazing times. I'll be examining my life and figuring out what comes next. Hope you get to do the same!