"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season of the year. In the south, the summers are too hot, the winters are surprisingly cold, and spring loses itself in the mix. But fall is this burst of color that saunters in after the sweltering heat of summer to usher in the holiday season.

Every year when I was growing up, I actually looked forward to going back to school. I think that in August and September, there was some order to things in my house. Lists had to be made, school supplies had to be purchased, and there was usually a shopping trip to buy new clothes for the next school year. It seemed to me to be more of a beginning of things than any other time of the year. As a ten year old, January 1st had little meaning to me, except that I often slept over at a friend’s house so we could stay up late to watch the ball drop. But, it never had any meaning, it was just another day.

I remember always thinking as the first day of school approached that this year would be different, better. I would feel more popular, more accepted. I often associated these possibilities with the clothes I wore (or styles I didn’t have), my hairstyle, and the notebooks I carried. I was so worried about fitting in. I think of all the superficial things I thought mattered, and in truth they did. At least to middle schoolers and teenagers, looks were important.

But, there was always this feeling of hope going into the fall season. Feeling that first bit of a chill in the air meant new, good things were possible. The need for order in my house extended past planning for school, quickly folding into planning for my birthday, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. The structure needed to coordinate events or trips to see my family in Kentucky made the house less quiet, and took the focus off of things that were so glaringly wrong.

It was easier then to pretend that we were just like every other family, preparing to enjoy the food and festivities of the upcoming holidays. In what always became a bittersweet mix of hope and disappointment, the holidays were at least busy times. After the new year, things became quiet in my house, too quiet. There were incredibly angry outbursts at times, but for the most part, there was a lot of silence. Uncomfortable silence. As if there was nothing approaching to help us pretend things were normal, and no one knew what to do with the free time.

I have only recently realized that I associate winter with quiet, and more than that, restlessness. It never ceases to amaze me how we truly learn what we live, and how hard those patterns are to change. The holidays are often difficult for me, as I don’t have anything close to what I consider “normal” in my life right now as far as a family of my own or the typical life. But, I have learned to make new traditions for myself, on my own, not trying to pretend things are anything other than what they are, and it has been liberating.

Today, I drove by a pumpkin patch, watching families search through the field of orange, walking in zig zag patterns, calling out to one another to inspect the latest find. There have been times when scenes like that have made me sad, reminding me of what I don’t have. But, today, I was caught up in the spirit of hope in this new season, the chill in the air, and age-old traditions. I pulled over, parked my car, and joined all the other families stepping over pumpkins, searching row by row for the right one. And as I paid for my choice, I was so glad I had chosen to participate instead of drive by, and happy to head home with a perfect piece of fall to place on my doorstep.


Anonymous,  October 12, 2009 at 12:39 AM  

I'm praying you can hold onto the promise of Fall... right through the wintertime.

Fresh Local and Best October 12, 2009 at 2:52 AM  

I'm glad that you are making your own traditions.

m.clifford October 12, 2009 at 3:35 AM  

Nice well written blog. Fall is my favourite season :)

Check out my blog at:

Anonymous,  October 12, 2009 at 7:10 AM  

I believe choosing to be a part of that scene is the key to finding your own happiness, and eventually finding what it is that you long for. It's the ones who don't participate that don't seem to get where they'de like to be. You write beautifully..

JC October 12, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

My family isn't what some would call normal but I still try to enjoy each Season ... our way.

Make the most out your life when you can ...

California Girl October 12, 2009 at 11:09 AM  

Nicely written. I know what you mean. We live the White Mtn of NH and we took an early morning drive so my husband could shoot. All I could think of was what I'll some day feel when we leave here and I must remember it all.

If you'd like to see some gorgeous Fall photos, visit either of my blogs:



Angella Lister October 12, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

I, too, have always loved the fall, for the reasons you so poignantly articulate.

Joanna October 12, 2009 at 11:37 AM  

I agree that for many people fall is the true new year. Memories of returning to school are a big part of that. And the hope we all feel at these times is so pervasive. It's my feeling that just about all high school students feel anxious about fitting in. Not just those of us who were different, but maybe even more so those who were the golden ones. I was never happier than when I was able to leave that scene.

I hope you continue to enjoy a beautiful fall season.

Pat October 12, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

I enjoy reading your blog - even when you are writing about sad times - you explain your feelings so well.

I'm glad that you stopped and picked out a pumpkin for yourself. You deserve to feel good out doing a holiday tradition - even if you are by yourself. Good for you! I'm proud of you!

Joe October 12, 2009 at 12:09 PM  

Reading your blog is like looking into an unusually magical mirror, one that can show, in someone else's image, the feelings that we all share.
I would be with you even more fully if it were not actually snowing here in Minnesota. We seem to have skipped most of our Fall this year - snowflakes on freshly fall leaves.

DianeSS October 12, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

I never thought about October as a time of beginnings. I grew up in South Africa where the start of a new school year coincided with the start of the new year, and my birthday followed soon after. Thanks for sharing your perspective about this beautiful time of year. Life is about finding our own meaning and our own way while being willing to appreciate a different point of view.

Newly and Forever, Tamantha October 12, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

As a single adult..I sometimes feel lost in the mix..not quite a kid in my parents' family and not a wife or mom of my own... But then I wonder "Why?".. I can make my own traditions and don't necessarily need anyone else to follow them to have them validated! Just another area of my life where trying to be like everyone else, serves no purpose. I think somehow I keep waiting for my life to begin, instead of living it now...and you are right...fall does seem like a perfect time for new hope and new beginnings!

Kristie Lynne October 12, 2009 at 6:13 PM  

I 100% agree. Fall is my goal making time. I love the crisp air, the new beginnings, and the end of year resolutions.

Jennifer October 12, 2009 at 6:23 PM  

I know this longing. I know this acceptance. I know the feeling in this season. I HOPE for you today. I HOPE for me today! New years can make new memories in familiar seasons.

msprimadonna67 October 13, 2009 at 1:48 AM  

It can be hard to break out of routine. Good for you for claiming your own traditions, making your own new ones.

Phoenix October 13, 2009 at 4:57 AM  

Fall is a lovely part of the year.. unfortunately we don't really experience it in full splendour in India.. I still miss the three falls in NY in the last few yrs...the pumpkins look gorgeous!

AccidentalTourist October 13, 2009 at 4:20 PM  

When I was going through my divorce (I wanted it, not my ex), I saw a wise therapist who explained life to me in the most interesting way. He said life is like a series of tapes. We tend to play them over and over again. If they are tapes of good things, that's fine, but we often play the bad tapes over and over too because they are familiar. He told me to make sure I make new tapes, and don't rewind the old ones.

Alex October 13, 2009 at 5:45 PM  

You're a wonderful writer...I wish the changing of the seasons was more evident in Australia. This year we have gone from warm, to hot, to warm. Winter? Forgot to come this year!

Coralee October 13, 2009 at 9:17 PM  

well said. . .fall is my favorite as well. ..thanks for "defining" it. .

Cheri Pryor October 18, 2009 at 4:51 AM  

Funny....spring is the time of year for all things new for me as the flowers start to blossom and the spring rains wash away all that is doom and gloom of winter. But fall warms my heart with all the beautiful, deep colors. But it reminds me that the doom and gloom of winter is just months away.

Can you tell I don't like winter? lol!

I think creating your own traditions is wonderful.

Zelda P. October 18, 2009 at 11:14 AM  


Did you read/hear NPR’s story about la rentrĂ©e in Paris? As a fellow Francophile, I bet you’ll appreciate it. Here’s the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112804896

Oh, and joyeux anniversaire!

-Zelda P.

Squish October 18, 2009 at 2:14 PM  

I love fall. I just hate when it disappears.

Sophie November 1, 2009 at 6:32 AM  

I absolutely love the way how you can write! Especially this piece about fall and a pumpkin patch!

kanishk November 2, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

I'm glad that you are making your own traditions. Work From Home

Anonymous,  November 5, 2009 at 10:58 AM  

Absolutely LOVE Autumn/Fall!!! Great piece.


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