Soaring into autumn this year

It’s coming.

Truth is, it already has arrived.

I’m talking about autumn and that subtle switch outside from a humid, steamy warmth to instead a warmth that refreshes the soul, because it also contains a whisper of a slight breeze. One is almost oppressive, the other is rather satisfying.

While Phil Collins would contend otherwise, I believe he wrote lyrics about just such a switch with his 1980s hit “In the Air Tonight.”

“I can feel it coming in the air tonight,” he sang. “And I’ve been waiting on this moment for all of my life.”

I dare say I have not waited for autumn all of my life, but I would contend that, since autumn is my favorite season of the year, I do eagerly anticipate its arrival each year.

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the autumn equinox officially arrived at 2:50 a.m. Sept. 23.

But anyone who loves autumn as much as I do knows that last Saturday was only an official date, since scholars need order in their tidy lives. Autumn arrives when she is good and ready — not a minute sooner. This year, I actually track her arrival back about one or two weeks previous.

For me, the first sign of the seasons changing can be found outside in the air. In addition to the subtle change in temperature I mentioned above, the autumn air seems more filtered and cleaner. The blues are deeper and richer. The whites of the cloud stand in sharper contrast to that blue background, making for vivid photographs.

At the same time that is happening, the flowers that displayed so beautifully all summer begin to show signs of weariness. While once they were able to bounce right back after a dry and humid day, now that bounce-back takes much longer. The buds are fewer, the stems more noticeable.

Soon, mums, much more geared to autumn weather, will replace the petunias and geraniums.

With each passing day this time of year, the amount of sunlight in the course of the day begins to shorten. In the mornings, the air is much cooler now and often contains a dew with it that coats cars left outside. While still too early for frost, it won’t be much longer in arriving, as well.

And, of course, there are the leaves on the trees. Slowly, they have begun their process of changing from the green of summer to the orange, red, yellow, and browns of autumn. There isn’t much to be seen yet in terms of fall foliage, but here and there the evidence exists and promises a brilliant show in the weeks ahead.

I guess I first noticed all that change around me a few weeks ago as Diane and I were out walking in the woods. Some of us aren’t fans of autumn, for it reminds us of what comes on its heels — the snow and cold of winter. But I appreciate the change in seasons, for each season’s passing provides me a time to stop and reflect on life.

During our walk, we came upon a bench, so Diane and I stopped to cool down a bit and just enjoy the beauty of the woods. In such a setting, it is easy to forget about the worries of the world. Things like a pending government shutdown, a war in Ukraine, or another pending indictment seem so far away.

As we sat, Diane looked down and noticed a little rock that had been painted very simply with one small flower and this sentiment: “Choose joy.”

It was a thoughtful gesture of someone who wanted to remind us that life is full of choices. When faced with a choice today, choose wisely. We can be like a duck and quack and complain. Or we can soar among the eagles.

My favorite season has arrived, and I choose to soar through it this year.

Bill Speer recently retired as the publisher and editor of The News. He can be reached at bspeer@thealpenanews.com.


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