The leaves have mostly fallen, except a brave few.
The wind has developed a certain brazen chill.
The skies have traded a sweet Carolina blue for a dreary heather gray.
The night falls much sooner and quicker than it used to.
The squirrels have gotten more than a wee bit on the chubby side.
(And, thanks to all that All Hallow's Eve candy, so have I...)
Signs of The End of Autumn and The Start of Winter are all around me. And though I thrive in the quiet Autumn evenings that follow full and active Summer days, solemn as the crickets' song yet teeming with life, I'm almost ready to say that I'm almost ready for the long, dark season that waits just around the bend. I bear no shame when I admit that I've already dusted off and listened to two Christmas albums. And, honestly, the only reason I haven't felt utterly compelled to decorate my home with deep red hues and bright twinkle lights is because that happens to be the state of the place year-round. I don't know if I've ever taken the time to be thankful for each of the Seasons at once. But I'm trying to today. Instead of complaining about the coming Five Months of Torture that make up a Chicago Winter, I want to remember the Charming Two Months of Spring, the Delicious Two Months of Summer, and the Bittersweet Three Months of Autumn. And I want to look forward to the truth that even the coldest season ahead boasts tummies full of the warming goodness that is a homemade stew, bodies full of armor against the unmerciful but beautiful elements, and hearts full of the love and joy and generosity that springs from the remembrance that "unto us a Child is born."
A season of my life is also starting to fade. That post-graduate season in which rest from past toils and the saving of energy, time, money and dreams for future hoped-for pursuits has defined the past 18 months of my existence, but I'm beginning to wonder if "future hoped-for pursuits" are more present than I'd even realized. I just turned 26... which means I'm now older than a quarter-century, and the age my mother was when she had her first wee bairn. I always said I would start down the childbearing road before she did, but here I am: 26, childless, and happily so. And while the professional and musical ambitions I've developed and fostered like an overly-zealous mother haven't dissipated in the least, I can't help but think that a change is yet around the bend, and I'm not sure if I like it or if I'm ready for it, but -- true as Old Man Winter himself -- it must come whether I want it or not. And it has a purpose. And it's purpose is good. And it, too, might be brimming with full tummies and hearts.
And so, as the wind feverishly blows,
and the skies gloomily darken,
and the squirrels greedily hoard,
and the night swiftly falls like the leaves from the trees,
even so, I shall be thankful for what goodness this Season also brings... like a tendency to settle down and cuddle up... and the peace that comes with the quiet... and the thankfulness that wells up and out when we reflect on a bountiful and exciting and full-of-love year.
May all the goodness of the Season ahead be with you -- whatever Season that may be!