The deep green of late summer has been starting to brown at the edges. The process is a slow one, but it’s urged along by the Halloween decorations beginning to appear in the stores and the spooky offerings showing up in various media. Our second pandemic summer is winding down. Autumn has always been my favorite season. I like summer’s relaxed attitude. Even winter’s chill is something I anticipate. But autumn is so visceral that it’s spiritual. Autumn catches in my throat. I sniff the air expectantly. I know the ghosts and ghouls are on their way. I won’t feel so strange for watching horror movies when the season demands it. Already light is scarce before work in the morning. In order to accommodate my daily constitutional I’ve had to shift to the streets of our town where there’s a bit of artificial light at 5:30 a.m.
September has crept up on us under the guise of several heat waves and hurricanes crossing the country. The season of scares is about upon us. I have to admit to feeling a thrill when seeing orange and black in stores and on front lawns. Halloween lights have begun to appear on some front porches and the candy has begun to spill out in grocery stores for those who want to shop early. Outside, even with the heat waves and hurricanes, early morning declares that fall is on its way. As early as August, like a squirrel I begin to horde away my autumnal reading and viewing. Books and movies to see me through to what seems like the home base of spring when shivers cease and light begins to grow again. Every year I tell myself I’ll be ready this time. Every year it stuns me in its wonder.
The transitional seasons, unfortunately, are most under threat from global warming. The periods between the extremes of heat and cold get foreshortened, making them even more precious. I have to believe Halloween is capitalism’s attempt to sell autumn. It’s a season of feeling, of pure emotion. I almost fear its coming since I know it can’t last for nearly long enough. There’s a beauty to the decline, and my migratory instincts for the classroom kick in. If only it could be so forever. Summer’s heat underscores autumn’s relief. There’s treasure hidden here, even if it’s only temporary. September is finally here. And with it comes hope.