"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." ~Albert Camus
When one is a child, grown-ups often like to pepper one with ridiculous inane questions that are a lot harder to answer than it may appear. "What is your favorite food?" Well, quite honestly, I prefer ice cream to food, but you won't like that, so...whatever Mommy makes. "What is your favorite color?" I'm a child. It changes every day, and today it is black, but you're not going to like that either, so...blue.
"What's your favorite season?" That one is easier. There's only 4 options, and each one has its beauties, so you won't be penalized for anything. Well, I hate bitter cold and sweltering heat, and living on the East Coast gives you a proper lashing of each over the course of the year. So I tended to waver between spring and fall, being that they're essentially the same in temperature.
Well, I've made up my mind. Fall is unquestionably my favorite season. I told Brittany recently that I realized I associate fall with change. Maybe this is because it's toward the close of the year, and there's a tendency (for me, at least) to go over in my mind everything that's happened in the past year and think, oh, that has definitely got to go! Things are going to change soon, it certainly feels like it! But in actuality, things seem to change for me in the summer, uncomfortable, itchy change, right in the middle of uncomfortable, itchy summer. (During the winter things just sort of, well...hibernate.) Still, my fairly inaccurate and unfailingly deceptive sixth sense tells me fall is change-time. Very well.
My other reasons for liking fall are varied. I like pumpkins. I used to go pumpkin-picking every year with my family as a child. We never did anything with them, not even jack-o-lanterns. We just had them. I actually like the purity of an un-maimed pumpkin...and there were sometimes trips that included hay-rides and petting zoos and losing the baby brother at the checkout line and said baby brother having a potty accident in the cornfields. (This is true, we have pictures.) And the leaves, the leaves, the leaves!
The leaves are fire. The earth just blazes when summer is over.
Alas, I live in New York. I haven't seen any trees really do this yet...I saw several going half-heartedly sallow from the window of the F train. I am planning a trip to New Jersey, wherein I hope to see some trees.
I saw Pride & Prejudice recently (the new one...I'm sorry, I love the old one too, but this one probes my soul) and was just taken aback by the landscape. The English countryside, which I have never seen in real life, just has something that matches something in me. I'm pretty sure my own personal corner of Heaven is going to look like the English countryside. All my best daydreams take place there and when I picture being in love, I picture me and "Bill"-the-Future-Husband hanging around there. Pretty neat.
Back to fall...I forgot to mention the other things that I love about it. Thanksgiving-type food. Pies. Visiting people who have lovely houses and everyone is friendly. Just cold enough out that you need to wear a sweater, but not freezing. That fireplace smell, which just smothers you in youth and the hope of love and strains of acoustic guitar and a tinge of a bitter disappointment that will come later when it's all over and nothing is left but the smell on your clothes. (I can't tell you how many bonfires I've sat by and thought about nothing but wishing for a boy to like me. Even when you stop liking those boys, or when you're too old to let your imagination have its way, the sweet, hopeful part clings to you. That's why the smell of a campfire or fireplace makes me really, really happy and a little sad.)
Cold, cold air rushing through your hair that you've left down because summer's gone and it won't get frizzy, and anyway being outdoors in nature makes you feel so beautiful that it doesn't matter if your hair is a wreck.
Waking up on Thanksgiving morning and your mom has been up since 7 putting the turkey in the oven, the whole house smells like turkey and coffee and you can eat cereal while smelling the aroma of turkey-seasoning and it doesn't bother you one bit, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is on TV but the reception is bad, the screen fizzes and jumps and your mom is wondering when they will show excerpts from Broadway shows. The Christmas commercials have begun, and lovely Santa Clauses are in them.
Your fingers are cold but it's too soon for gloves...right? You put them in your pockets, and your little sister also puts her fingers in your pockets. Her fingers are so freaking cold.
The littlest sister is wearing a strange pink fleecey hat. Nothing she is wearing matches.
Pumpkin pie batter always runneth over when you carry the pans from the table to the oven. It looks (and smells) like baby food.
"What do you want for Christmas?" The aunt that gave the best presents starts calling in October. Your list changes dramatically over the years. Remember the Star Castle? And then you had to list which Enya CDs you had so that she could get you the one you didn't.
Being inside your warm, cozy house. Fluffy, fluffy socks. I wish I had millions of them.
I could go on like this until winter.