I will admit that fall in New England is beautiful.
I will concede that fact. However.
However, the arrival of the autumnal equinox never thrills me. Instead, I grow nostalgic over the waning summer, the loss of long, hazy days and oceanside memories. I feel anxious over summer’s hasty decline. I want more time to feel the warm breeze on my face, the scent of salt air on the wind at Cape Cod. I want more time to see the light of evening creep over the hills, to hear the soft sound of summer leaves limping in the humid air. I want to walk with Paul out to the garden and grab some tomatoes and basil for supper. And I long for more time to watch our children playing in the surf, laughing and running in its spray.
This past summer was long. And hard. But beautiful. It was the beginning of my thirtieth year, and in its slow months I learned painful, scary and wonderful lessons. We felt fear and disappointment. And we felt the incredible love and support of those around us, both known and unknown. I learned what it is like to be on the other side of medicine. What it’s like to be a patient. To hear bad news. To feel short bursts of concern and then relief. And as much as I love summer, this past one is not one I really want to repeat. And in that admission, I realize something. I may not want to repeat it, but I don’t want to forget it, either. I don’t want to forget the love, the painful lessons, the fears we faced. Because I want to learn from it, to grow, to feel the effects of experience in our future. To learn to look at the day I have today as so important. To not long for yesterday, or yearn too aggressively for the future. Instead, to calmly live in the here and now.
So this fall, I am going to try not to wish for the summer, or grow anxious over the approaching winter. I will learn to soak in the delights of fall. To notice the smell of crispy leaves underfoot. To enjoy the taste of warm apple cider. Okay, that’s about it. My list of autumnal joys are not nearly as long as summer’s. But I’m trying here…
I love New England. I do. Especially in summertime. (oops.)
Happy Autumnal Equinox.
(And if you want to help a girl out, be sure to comment on your favorite fall enjoyments, whether in New England or some other clime. I could really use some help here…)