Fall can be wrapped up in one word: transition. Transition from hot weather to cold, lush foliage to bare limbs, long days to short.
Arguably we’re in constant transition as the Earth circles the sun, yet winter and summer somehow feel like destinations, as concrete as Breckinridge or the Bahamas. Spring and fall are the journeys between.
Transitions are exciting. They spark the imagination. Hopes and fears flare as vividly as the leaves of a sugar maple a week past the autumnal equinox.
Everything is certain at the extremes of the year. We are guaranteed sweltering heat and humidity in July, ice, snow, and bitter wind in January. But in spring and fall, each day is a question. Will it be T-shirt or sweatshirt weather? Will I need my sunglasses, umbrella, scarf—or all three? Will today bring green buds to the trees, or will those same leaves, now brittle and brown, finally fall?
This fall seems to be full of transitions in my personal life, as well. My supervisor is retiring, and I wonder who will replace her. (I’m not applying for her position, but I’m on the interview committee.) I’m hoping to adopt a dog soon; it’s been four months since Carly died. But when and how will I find the right companion?
I’m struggling with transitions in my writing, too. This summer I finished a major revision of a “new” project, and now I’m waiting to find out if my editor wants it. It’s hard shifting gears to work on something else. I’m free; I can do anything. The possibilities are tantalizing yet also overwhelming.
But today, I put aside my hopes and fears for a while to journey around town and enjoy the fall splendor. To appreciate the “getting there” without worrying about where “there” is.