It’s just that time of year
When we push ourselves ahead
We push ourselves ahead

– Dar Williams, “End of Summer”

This is the window that gives me my first view of the outside world each morning. It’s a northerly view, and through it the first rays of day light stream in from the right and incoming storms creep in from the left. Echelons of geese fly from me in the spring and return towards me each fall. Newly fallen snow sparkles from naked boughs in the first light of winter morning, and each spring I see the first hints of green as the new leaf buds begin to form at the tips of branches.

It’s September now, and the rich spring greens of the leaves have turned to greens more olive or chartreuse or khaki. The walnut trees, always last to don their leaves and first to release them, are sprinkling a few leaves with each breeze like half-hearted confetti for the end-of-summer parade. The view from this window will begin to change drastically in the next few weeks, with green yielding overnight to gold and crimson.

My mother always said autumn was her favorite time of year. As a child I never understood this, but now I find myself agreeing. Winter has a sharp-edged silver beauty, spring has its poetic overtones of rebirth and hope, and summer claims the full spectrum of colors and the hedonism of a lizard basking on a hot stone. Autumn is richer in symbolism and grace than the other seasons, though. Its edges are softer, its symbolism is in the dignity of now rather than the promise of tomorrow, and its colors are chosen for effect rather than out of avarice for the entire rainbow.

September doesn’t say, “Pity me because I’m losing the richness of Summer to the sterility of Winter.” It doesn’t look back; it doesn’t look forward. September says, “Look at this leaf. Have you ever seen this pattern of red and yellow speckles before?” It says, “Behold this living jewel of a monarch chrysalis, with gold dots that seem to glow like a cat’s eyes in the dark.” It tells you to close your eyes and just let the soft breeze drape over your arms like the finest silk.

Maybe the End of Summer is the time we “push ourselves ahead”. But the beginning of Autumn is when I just want to enjoy what I have now.

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  1. Most eloquently put.

    For us, autumn is also the beginning of the new year.

    The Rabbis say that during this time, ‘The King is in the field’. Meaning God makes Himself more approachable in some mysterious way.

    I think they are right.

  2. I really enjoyed this entry. I’ve always preferred the Fall season to all others (although each one offers something wonderful). Love the window…did you do that yourself or have it done.

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