As a commenter mentioned, this blog has gotten a golden fall makeover.
I wish that the fall made me feel as golden and sharp as the template for the blog is. And this is a strange statement to make as It is honestly my favorite season. I love the transition to the cooler temperatures after the dog days of August. While it can still get pretty hot in September, it's usually the exception rather than the rule. It's only supposed to be 57 degrees tomorrow! That is completely unbelievable - in the sense that I really will only believe it when it actually happens.
I've been thinking a lot about fall in the last couple days (or autumn for my UK friends) and the effect that it has on me. The shortening of the days can play havoc on my mood and general state of mind - it's called seasonal affective disorder for those wondering. And while I've made my peace with it, it sometimes gets the better of me. The pull of the darkness is sometimes very hard to resist - not in a "Yay! I get to go there" way but in a "I have to work my ass off to keep from going there" way. So consequently, it's been a long time since I have truly enjoyed a fall - despite my best efforts to do so.
I start every fall by saying "I'm not going to waste this season. I'm going to keep my eyes wide open and notice things and enjoy this great transition into winter." I have made pacts with myself to go walk on campus when the leaves fall and just go kicking through them like I did when I was a kid walking home from school. But usually, life gets away from me and suddenly, it's the end of November and the leaves have all fallen from the trees and snow is on the way. And I'm left having completely missed it. That's what SAD can do to you, even when you keep it pretty much in check.
Some of my most vivid memories - both good and bad - have had their origins in autumn. I've started a lot of friendships in September and October. It's the 4th quarter so a lot of big name music releases come out - Madonna has had no fewer than four albums come out in October or November. I have been at my most social and at my loneliest in the fall of the year. And when my SAD was at its worst, I was practically out of commission for the whole season.
So it's always a little bit bittersweet whenever autumn rolls around. I'm always reminded of that Barbra Streisand song "Autumn" from the People album - one of those early Streisand albums that not only can I not get enough of, but Heidi actually likes as well (will wonders never cease.) There's a chill in the song that mirrors the chill she sings of in the song.
Autumn - it feels like autumn
Although the breeze is still I feel the chill of autumn
Sometimes I think that in a weird way I kind of like the bittersweet of the fall of the year. But I am through wallowing in it. My tendency for the last few years has been to mark each autumn as a time to remember the good and the bad, and while remembering the good to think of how things got screwed up instead of focusing on how good things were. So it's really a lose-lose situation for me. Even in remembering the good, I get smacked with the bad. However, this year I have determined that even though I am bound to remember all those same things, THIS WILL BE THE BEST FALL EVER. Rather than remember all the friends that have passed from my life, I will cherish the ones I have now and look forward to meeting new ones this fall in new and daring ways.
So on this Sunday night, when I am usually fretting over the return of the work week, I'm feeling full of energy for the adventure ahead of me. I'm not entirely certain how I'm going to do it, but I am NOT going to waste this season. The growing season may be over, and the leaves may soon be falling as the world goes dormant for winter, but I've only just begun.