I have to say, autumn is my favorite season overall. There are wonderful things about each of the four seasons, and I love living in places where you actually get all four. But if I had to pick my favorite, it's happening around us right now.
Well, one obvious reason is shown in the photo to the left here. I took this during my ride in to work on Halloween morning. The colors you see during autumn are just spectacular sometimes, and like no other time of the year. Whether it's the nearly insane explosion of reds, golds, yellows, oranges, etc, of New England, or the simple, brilliant splashes of golden aspen among the evergreen Ponderosa pines of Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, the colors of autumn are a joy to me.
But I also just love the fact that autumn is all about transition and change. Sure, every season has changes, but to me, autumn has always seemed defined by change. The trees going from green to gold/red/orange/yellow to brown to bare grey is just the most visible expression of this change. But I also love the change of temperature, the inevitable slide downward on the thermometer. Sure, nature may tease us with those precious, glorious days of spring-like warmth here and there, and their lovely, but everyone knows that winter is coming, like it or not (count me in the like it column). The winds grow stronger, the clouds and skies wilder and more dramatic. And the light.... don't forget the light. Not only do the days grow shorter and shorter (and abruptly shift an hour at one instant), but the quality of light is utterly different. The sun is lower, the shadows longer, the light slashing across the land picking out highlights we've forgotten since last fall. Even the color of the light is unique. Perhaps it's because I spent a good portion of my life working with and looking at light in the theatre... or perhaps it's the other way 'round, but I dearly love watching the way the light shifts and changes this time of year.
And I suppose one more reason autumn says "change" to me is that it's often been the time of new beginnings. The first day of school... whether it was literally that FIRST day ever, or the first day of high school... of college... always a time of anticipation, excitement, sometimes even a little trepidation. New places, new faces, new friends, perhaps even new loves... the fall, particularly during our school years, is all about change. For me, having spent most of my working life in either professional or academic theatre, and even now in the bike industry, fall brings change to me. When teaching, each autumn brought a new crop of students, new shows, new colleagues, new challenges. Professional theatres typically open their seasons in early autumn, so even there I had a new beginning each year. The bicycle world, in retail anyway, is more about ending than beginning, which is different for me. But I still look at it as a beginning... the time we start to regroup and get ready for next season, planning and thinking and exploring new ideas.
So, fleeting as it is, and in the mid-Atlantic some years it is very fleeting, I love autumn... so bright and wild and promising of change. Enjoy it and embrace it while it's here!