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Falling for autumn over and over again

by Matthew Civico September 29, 2015
Falling for autumn over and over again

What’s there to like about the herald of winter dread?

What is it about dying trees, cold winds, and shorter days that drives me to wake up with the sun and go for a run with a toque on? It can’t only be me. Well, maybe you’re not a runner or a morning person—that’s ok—there’s plenty of other things autumn is good for other than chilly sunrises.

Chilly winds and changing leaves are a parable of permanence. Photo by Matthew Civico.

Chilly winds and changing leaves are a parable of permanence. Photo by Matthew Civico.

I’ve heard people say that autumn makes them sad, yet many others say that it’s their favourite season. The anticipation leading up to spring and summer is hopeful and light, and for good reason (Canadian winters), but the anticipation of autumn and winter are more like varying degrees of dread for some. While I do prefer sweaters to sunscreen I have nothing against summer, it’s great and I enjoy it to the fullest. Still, there is something about the onset of autumn that inspires me.

Fall is my favourite season precisely because it makes me a bit sad. Let me explain.

Like the conflict in a good tragedy, fall, and the winter that follows it, is unstoppable. Bad things are going to happen. You will need to find those gloves that you put away in a special place but, tragically, have forgotten their location. Just when it looks like you’ll need to buy a new pair for the third year in a row, you pat yourself down in your winter coat and, what’s this? You find your gloves in the pockets. Oh yes, you are a smart one. How could you have doubted yourself? With your hands thus outfitted you can now venture out confidently into the increasingly belligerent weather.

This anticipation of difficulty is what I find so attractive about fall. Historically this feeling had more bite for the average person because the concept of the harvest wasn’t just a concept—it was a matter of life and death. Rest after struggle is a particularly beautiful kind of rest, and I get a slice of that every autumn in a sort of microcosm, just like that little anecdote about the lost gloves. Necessity feels closer during the change of seasons.

Autumn inspires me because it anticipates change, changes that are more like challenges. While challenges like staying warm and fed are stripped of their risk for a city dwellers, they thankfully retain most of comforting reward. Snuggles, warmly spiced treats, and casseroles are definitely big players in fall’s popularity. There is more though, like the melancholy of gently falling leaves.

In addition to tea, autumn drives me to make things. I get all creative, and in a way that’s distinct from other times of year. Summertime demands activity and getting outside while winter is often an energy suck, but autumn quickens things. I get a desperate feeling of time running out.

Winter really is coming.

Actually, there’s not much time left. The fall passses quickly and soon shopping malls will be prodding us to quasi-Christmas consumerism and no one will want to go out because of the snow.

This season lives on borrowed time every year and it’s shorter than most, so don’t go wasting it. Slow down but don’t start hibernating indoors just yet, there are autumn sunrises to catch, and a finite amount of beauty to contemplate over warm cups of tea.

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