But you knew
“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.”― Ernest Hemingway
I don’t know whether this quote was always true for me, but it certainly has been so in recent years. I lost both my beloved Daddy and my one-and-only love Jeff in the early autumn, just a little over a year passing between their deaths. And my Mama’s September birthday reminds me of her death seven months after Jeff’s. Yet, even now, autumn probably is my favorite season. It is at least tied with springtime as the time of year closest to my heart.
Hemingway touches on why this may be. Despite the sadness of death and decay in the natural world, we know that this passage marks only a transition, not an ending. It is as if nature itself is reminding us that death never bats last. Even as we prune our shrubbery and rake up our fallen leaves, we imagine the blooms of April and the greening of the landscape that seems to return all the more quickly as the passage of time speeds up in our distracted, overly-busy era. Fall creates a respite, a time for clearing away and preparing for an unknown but inevitable renewal.
Meanwhile, the season’s sadness, which is no less acute for being predictable, does carry other consolations. The cooling temperatures remind us of mercy, and the abundance of harvest crops promises that our needs will be met. The rich hues of autumn dazzle before gradually fading, and the cold months beckon with holiday festivity and the coziness of hot beverages and home-baked goodies. We look forward to the weeks of lessened daylight as a trade-off that will give us extended hours for reading, crafts, sleep, or guilt-free time spent daydreaming of plans for the year to come.
Perhaps you, too, expect to be sad in the fall. If so, you have lots of company. May the solace of comforts tucked away in the coming months bring you the bittersweet but persistent joy of knowing there always will be a spring.