Seasons bring with them such individual feelings and memories. The fall always has such a sense of nostalgia about it... a feeling in the air that cuts me to the core and makes me shiver inside. I've always felt an odd connection to the fall. It always feels like a new beginning. Most people think of spring as a new beginning, but for me, fall will always be the season of change and fresh perspective.
There's a long poem I wrote in 2006 called Recounting Autumn. Tonight, I chopped it and changed it a bit. I know we're not all poetry people, but this is what's in my heart tonight and it explains how I feel with bits of newness mixed in, especially to the ending.
The flash of autumn color
Meets my hazy eyes
And I am struck with
Days gone by.
My eyes adjust
And there I stand,
Skinny legs in saddle shoes,
Tapping my foot on the pavement—
Impatiently waiting to Trick-or-Treat—
Thin arms shivering
In a leotard that I insisted
On pushing down over my small shoulders
In an attempt
To look grown up
At age seven.
I breathe deeply of dried leaves
And of approaching dusk,
And I think that I can truly smell Halloween.
When autumn lingers in the fog of my breath,
It’s like first-day-of-school shoes and nervousness,
Like opening a brand new book
And taking everything in.
I’m hit with a new memory,
And it tastes like carefree childhood seconds.
Every birthday of mine
Lands in the fall—
And though the date is always the same,
It seems the fall is changed a bit each time—
Just like me.
My thoughts scatter,
The years coming back to me
Out of order,
And more memories flood my mind.
I remember the only birthday
My mother wasn’t there,
Staying at the hospital
After having a baby.
My birthdays from that point
And so, the autumn also marks
The first day I met my brother.
The season that bore both of us
Introduced us to each other.
But as I grew,
Ever the hopeless romantic,
I remember birthdays age eleven through thirteen,
When my wish as I blew out my candles
Was “to find my one true love someday.”
Whether surrounded by family or by friends,
I close my eyes and blow—
Tempted by adult dreams
And with a dramatic biting of my lip
As the last candle is extinguished,
My mind whispers my wish
And I open my eyes.
I’m a child of the fall,
Filled both with memories of summer
And the anticipation of winter moments—
A harmonious balance.
I was a girl of anticipation,
The first day of fall circled on my calendar,
Promising an impending birthday
And another step closer to adulthood—
A step I always coveted.
I attend high school football games,
My gloved hands on my cheeks,
In the stands with friends,
As the autumn wind causes my cheers to trail off…
I feel older, but still the same—
A little more reserved,
A little less intent on growing up.
My sneakers scuff the ground
Around the football field
As I leave in the fall night,
And I secretly want to trade them in
For decade-old ballet slippers
And twirl about like a little girl.
The girl is here,
Morphed and molded,
Different and the same.
I remember first day of fall rides with Rick,
And fall days after too,
Top down on the Camaro,
Lots of wind,
Lots of laughing.
Corn high and crinkly on the side of the road,
Our conversations muted
By the rush of air as cars passed by.
He knew I was a child of the fall,
He knew I wanted pumpkins and
Walks on the trail.
Tenderly you touch my hand,
Rub your fingers over mine.
Your eyes are on the road,
My eyes are on you.
The sun in my eyes
And the wind in my hair,
I smile just to be alive
And breathe deeply
Of the crisp, fresh autumn air.
Up and down the hills,
Fast across the expanse of land,
We travel with no destination,
Simply living for the ride.
If I could reach my hands up to the sky,
And grab a cloud
In the autumn breeze,
I would hold it like a baby in my arms,
Because the clean, crisp air
That floods my mind
Takes me back
To days that have passed but still live on.
I want to fall flat on the ground,
Feel the dirt and leaves beneath my weight,
And inhale the memories that come
Saying hello to me like friends.
Instead, I look out -
To the sunset and the future -
And I blow a kiss to autumn.
In the face of death and grief,
Every autumn feels like a beginning.
Every autumn smells like a fresh start.
If I walk, if I run,
In the air so chilly and fraught with memories,
I can almost detect the scent of autumn
In my whipping hair,
As though it’s lingered there all along.