It took forever to arrive and now, after what seems like no time at all, it’s heading for the hills.
Summer was, at last, a fair-weather friend. Sure, it offered us butterflies and Slurpees and optimism while it was in our midst. But then it went ahead with its plans to go away—even in spite of the times we shared and the secret hope we harboured that maybe our sunny companion would change her mind about leaving.
And so now we sit, unnervingly poised for another Canadian fall—privately anticipating the return to patterned sweaters and ankle boots, publicly dreading the encroaching cold, contracting days and icy driveways.
We needn’t despair so. The approaching climatic shift is actually a marvelous development that suits our natural existence on this planetary terrain to an artfully crossed T.
Think about it. The rhythm of the Earth’s revolving moods serves as a kind of communal pulse for its almost 7 billion residents. And the reliability of same is an enduring comfort in a world where change is endless and heartbreakingly swift. How reassuring it is to be so consistently rewarded by the natural world. Four times a year, goes nature’s pledge, our surroundings will be redrawn with a new brush. This transformation—and autumn’s is the most spectacularly painted, by far—provides ongoing confirmation that life continues apace. Calendar pages flip. The universe endures. As long as the world exists, says the book of Genesis, there will be seasons.
Certainly, the challenges associated with the swing into fall cannot be minimized. Indeed, this chronological transition can prove a genuine shock to the system, and it always serves its unwitting participants well to spend a bit of time reflecting upon it. Just as the Earth must grind to a halt now, and make provisions for nature’s most ungenerous period, during which it retracts its bounty and hunkers down to brave the elements, so, too, must we arm ourselves for change. But while the barefoot gifts of summer made living easier, to be sure, the pleasures of fall are not to be underestimated.
Indeed, truly, what better season than autumn is there to make a reacquaintance with our spiritual selves? Here in the dimming light, we find endless opportunity for renewal. Remember the promises you made before the launch of each new school year? This time—this time—I’m going to keep my binder organized, commit to a new system, stay on top of my homework, among other passionately heartfelt vows. That most fresh plans have generally been abandoned by Thanksgiving is immaterial: the September impulse for reinvention is powerful.
“To everything, turn, turn, turn,” the Byrds urged the world, 46 years before it prepared to tackle the particular turning required of fall, 2011. “There is a season, turn, turn, turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven.”