It is definitely a very unique season in so many ways. For one thing, it is the only one that has two common names. Some call it fall and others prefer the more formal term of autumn. Apples bloom in their full glory even as all other fruit has either died or is rotting off the branches. They call it fall because of the obvious reasons that leaves are falling on a relentless basis. Or perhaps it is “fall” because so many of our summertime realities are falling like an extravagant arrangement of dominoes.
Daylight is most definitely falling. It falls until the Winter Solstice on December 21st and Daylight Savings Time obviously takes an enormous slice out of it. Our summertime freedom would dramatically fall as the old routine took away the beautiful aimlessness of the summer months. This is definitely one of the nice things about being an adult because during my free time it is possible to milk out one more trip to the beach during the beginning of September. In reality, fall unofficially begins right after Labor Day when most of the pools close down and the summer glory falls to its knees like a weeping clown.
Fall is actually a period of limbo as nature turns into an ambivalent, Hamlet-like entity. Is it summer or is it fall? To be summer or not to be summer? That is the question?” On some days we are back in t-shirts and shorts. Other days we are trudging through the crust of frost at 5:00 AM. Most of our thoughts about fall are preserved in concrete, childhood memories. There is definitely some amount of nostalgia regarding memories of playing in leaves or sampling apple cider. Other memories are of new beginnings that were often more like nightmares than adventures. I remember back in third grade when I started going to a new elementary school and simultaneously started Hebrew School two days a week. By the end of the first day of Hebrew School I was nearly in tears due to the dramatic changes including the fact that summer was also over. How many of us as children have entertained the fantasy that the start of the school year would be blessed by God. In other words, a one hundred year old tree finally decided to give up the fight and collapsed on the school like a Brother’s Grimm giant temporarily wounded by a tailor’s sword. Vacation would be milked out for a solid week as the world of fall foliage intertwined with the last of 75-degree summer days!
There are definitely some good aspects to fall, however. The temperatures remain quasi-warm as the poison ivy and ticks die their natural deaths. Hiking in the glamor of fall is also quite incredible and recall those scenic walks on the Appalachian Trail where the path is defined by the groove of hiking boots carved by so many boots. Some of us go through the same cycle of regret and shame every single fall. We realize we have taken the summer for granted and not spent enough time in the swimming pool. It gave us the sensation that it would last forever and, of course, this was not the case. Not it is too late and winter will rear its inevitable head sooner as opposed to later. There are more picnics and more attempts to seize the day in the form of picnics and activities such as apple picking.
For the autism population, I am not how sure everybody else feels about the season of fall. They may welcome the lukewarm temperatures and incoming rituals such as Halloween. For those who are small children, there could be a tidal wave of distress due to new school years and other factors that invite a brewing crisis. Perhaps the season of fall should be spent preparing for the next season. One of these days, I am going to create my Christmas cards during the Indian summer and have the packages ready to go in one massive explosion by December 1st. For those who do not know what the Indian summer is…it is a period of unseasonable warmth that reminds us what is both left behind and lies ahead.