As I sitting on my porch writing this, the temperature feels like that it has dropped 20 degrees. Autumn is my favorite season of the year…and has been since I was a child. The, soon to be, bite of chill in the air, and the Halloween decorations going up and the luxury of all of the classic horror and monster movies on Turner Classic Movies…is almost to much bear….and it is only the first day!
Being born in the Fall, as is my son, Aaron, I have a particular fondness for the peaceful solemnity and quiet of the short days and long nights. Its arrival signals the holiday season and all of the happiness and joy that it brings.
I do not care for hot weather…I dislike it very much! As a kid in Eldorado, Illinois we had no air conditioner until the last couple of years that I was home, and that was a window unit, in what we called the new room, and I was not allowed to turn it on without permission. My step-father would explain to me that if I would open my bedroom window about three or four inches, during the sweltering nights of summer, and he would subsequently put the window fan that was located in the kitchen window, on exhaust, that I would feel the coolest of air waft through the small opening of my window and sleep like I was sleeping under air conditioning…which he noted was unhealthy! It felt like I was sleeping in a sauna! I could hope for only two remedies. One was the occurrence of a thunderstorm by which the air following would be much cooler…for a short time. The other was the welcome of some cooler air…just before dawn…of which I knew the time of…as I was often awake to welcome it…from my sauna!
Thus developed my affection for the cool air of autumn. Autumn is a primary time to re-focus the mind and regenerate the spirit. It still posses the majesty of the summer sunshine united with the halcyon days of pumpkins and apple cider and scarecrows and pilgrims and and Indians…and turkeys.
Sometimes we need the comfort of a bonfire and a star filled night sky. We need the slower pace that cooler and then cold weather provides for us. We need to ponder our place in the world…where we have been….where are we going?
Fall is a settling of the year. As the leaves change color and fall to the ground and the animal kingdom prepares their dens and homes in the trees and the earth…and the birds fly south…so the human family settles in their homes and prepares for winter.
Thanksgiving is a big deal in the Brooks home…Mary Jane would have it no other way! I did not realize how fun Thanksgiving could be until we were married over 41 years ago! We have been decorating for the holiday for many years and in the early days, when the boys were small, we put out a group of porcelain animals, a skunk and a rabbit and a fox and more…dressed as Thanksgiving characters. When Jonathon’s first grade teacher asked the class if anyone knew what the pilgrims were…Jonathon quickly raised his hand…..
I am convinced that we come into this world in a happy state of bliss and wonder. We begin without prejudice because we do not understand the concept…until someone teaches it to us. Thanksgiving and Christmas brings us back…if only a little…to our original inclination to care about each other. For a couple of months, as the promise of winter intrudes upon us, we take stock of our blessings and care more about our neighbor’s suffering and needs.
We may have a bit of Ebenezer Scrooge about us….and a ghostly friend of Jacob Marley…where we reflect upon what we have done for others…and what we could have done had we not been so enthralled with ourselves.