As we begin drying out from the last couple weeks of rain, I’m actually starting to get excited about the coming Fall. My children started school last week, and there is something to be said about having a break in my electric bill from having the air conditioning cranking throughout the Summer. Truth be told, I actually really enjoy seeing the changing leaves, feeling the change in the temperature, and taking part in the ritual that is Autumn: back from vacation, back to school, onward to life’s next segment. Pumpkin latte anyone?
When you’re a kid in primary school, you spend a lot of time focusing on things like seasons, bird types, changes in plants, etc. Ask any second grader, and I can guarantee that they can tell you in surprising detail the difference between types of clouds (cumulus vs. nimbostratus), types of plants (perennial vs. annual), and types of birds (European swallow vs. African swallow). For the rest of us non-second graders, Wikipedia has been a saving grace when these questions pop up.
But these early lessons in learning to respect the changing seasons have stuck with me—even if the specific names of the birds preparing to migrate or the specific steps in the process leading to the changing of leaf colors escapes me. Having grown up in the Southern part of Delaware, Fall was a “given.” Smith’s Orchard had apples, and Elmer’s Market had pumpkins. After I moved away to New York, Fall was something that you traveled on weekends to see: “Hey, let’s rent a car this weekend and go get some apples Upstate.” Upstate New Yorkers know that people from Manhattan are easy pickings for these Fall treks—with the Autumn leaves having a magnetic pull on the five boroughs. I’m also quite certain that pricing on apples is done accordingly. Despite the gouging, the concept of Fall harvest has a special meaning—even in our modern non-agrarian community.
Delaware is blessed with those perfect Falls—the kind that cause people to reach for the camera at seeing a “U-Pick” sign, or the kind that causes moms and dads to throw a hoodie on the kids for a Saturday walk. Even though Spring is much more synonymous with “new beginnings,” I can’t help but think that Fall itself is that fresh start that people need to tackle what’s next.
We’ve got a lot ahead of us—several difficult economic and political issues that appear to be queuing themselves up for decision over the next couple of months: the job report stinks, the world economy reeks. A wildly swinging stock market, a less than gold credit rating, a lack of consumer confidence. Double dip recession anyone?
Despite the distracting nature of these concerns, and despite the potential difficulties we may end up facing, think of Fall as an opportunity for a fresh start—even if you can only afford to do so for one Saturday in the coming couple months. In short, take a moment to reflect on the gift of the season and have that one cup of hot apple cider with a second-grader that can explain why oak leaves turn red.