Fall is my favorite season. I don’t think anything gets much better than New York City in Autumn. Of course, rides in the country at this time of year are incredible too! Second to Fall would be Spring. I enjoy Winter and Summer, don’t get me wrong. I love playing in the snow, I’m still not too old (And hope I never will be!) to sled, build snow-Daleks (Yes, really.), or join in a snowball fight. In the Summer, I love the beach. Few things soothe me so much as the warm sun on my skin and the sound of waves hitting the shore. I love to collect shells and could float all day in the ocean. But it is Spring and Fall, with their comfortable temperatures and most beautiful of colors that I love best. Spring is when flowers blossom, and it seems like all is new once again. By the time the first blooms appear, I often think I can’t handle anymore Winter. The leaf-less trees, the grey skies, the bone-chilling cold… Then I’ll see a stalk of green sprouting up, maybe even a bud appear. It’s like nature has exhaled. I know warmer temperatures, brighter days, and new life are on their way. So I stick out the rest of Winter, and sometimes even miss my hat and scarf by the time Spring is in full-effect.
With Fall, it’s a similar feeling. As much as I love Summer, the adventures I often take, the time with my girls, the smells and sounds of the beach, by August I’m usually quite over the heat. The days become unbearably humid and sweating becomes a pastime. By then I’m longing for a snuggle in my hoodie, I dream of wearing my boots again and sipping hot tea. Then leaves will start to fall, the nights become cooler, I wake up to that distinct odor of Fall. It’s a cold mixture of dead leaves and fireplaces. I love that smell. It has competition with the smell of snow, sea air, and fresh-cut grass that the other seasons offer. But, for now, as I sit here in this moment of Autumn, it is the most wonderful scent. I do get Spring Fever, but I think it’s Fall Fever that hits me even harder. Perhaps it’s because I know I have only a matter of weeks until I must bundle up in layers to go out, or that shoveling snow is soon to be a hobby. Whatever it is, when the smells and sights of Fall come around, I feel a renewed energy. Even when I’m struggling with things and feeling down, Fall gives me a much-welcomed jolt.
I lived in Texas for ten years. The leaves don’t really change there. The seasons are less defined, and more “not-Summer” than Spring, Fall, or Winter. While we’d occasionally get an ice storm or a flurry in our brief Winters, there was little distinction between the seasons. Summer brought heat so severe, one spent more time indoors than out. I missed the changing of seasons; I didn’t realize to what extent until I moved back to the Northeast. We moved back in a February. My girls were delighted when a week or two later, they played in several inches of snow. I has as much fun as them playing the snow. I had forgotten how very cold Winters were up here though. There are days when I dread leaving the house because I know it will take layers of cold and cups of hot tea to warm me up. Some nights, I sleep wearing a hat! I’d probably never make it north of Boston, I don’t think my body is equipped.
That first Spring after I moved back here, the smells and blossoms, they weren’t much different from Texas. Except the trees–the trees here are so tall and so many in number, when their leaves return here, it’s astounding. Plus the beautiful cherry blossoms, something I’d missed all those years away. Spring means renewal for all, and adventures too. It means longer days and less layers. It means Summer is around the corner, which means no school and days at the shore. Our first Summer back, my kids were amazed at being able to play outside even in July. It was a great few months for us, for me returning to what I’d always known, and see the new sights and smells of the seasons through them.
When Fall came, all three of us were thrilled. They’d never jumped in a pile of leaves! They’d pick up different foliage, and be in awe at the array of colors nature had to offer. I realized then, just how much I had missed the seasons, and in particular Fall. Nothing compares to seeing the yellows, oranges, and reds sprouting out from the trees and blowing in the wind. I’ll be driving and see a tree so vibrant, it almost looks on fire. Every year, even though the leaves are dying, it feels like a renewal. It’s a reminder that change is around the corner, that the season is changing, that none of us, not me, not nature, is stagnant. What a wonderful feeling.