Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I have lived in the Midwest my entire life. Autumn is, hands down, my favorite part of the year.

It's downright magnificent.

There's more to it. My chosen latitude means that I am one of those privileged folks that gets to experience four distinct seasons each year, give or take a season. Each one of those has its highs and lows ... and often those highs become the lows by the end. 85 degrees feels fantastic in May and less so in September. The first snowfall is magical; the last is exhausting.

Rain in the spring turns to muddy laundry. Leaves in the fall clog the gutters.

But oh, for those first weeks? It's wonderful.

Each year, I look forward most to our transitional seasons. Spring is a chance to return to my favorite hobbies -- the trails clear, the ice melts, and I can hike and kayak again. Autumn is a relief after the heat and chaos of summer, and with any luck, a chance to wring a few more miles out of the trails and more laps around a lake.

And perhaps, just maybe, it has a lot to do with my attention span.

I adore the variety. About the time I find a season exhausting, it changes and I get to try something new for awhile.

A friend of mine is moving to Hawaii in a few weeks and while some part of me has the usual reaction -- "Holy cow, I'm jealous, you're going to live in paradise" -- another part has to acknowledge that a place with an average temperature range of only about 10 degrees could get tiresome. How does a person mark the passage of time if things don't change?

Silly question. Millions of people in the world live close enough to the equator that that's their reality.

But for me, a landlocked human living largely within a small span of northerly latitude, one that experiences both nine hour days and fifteen hour days within a year ... These changes are the markers my body is used to, the ones my mind can appreciate.

And autumn? I love the drop in temperatures, the leaves as they turn, the hint that there's more in store. I love the feeling of a fresh start that, even now, comes with the new school year. I love that my coffee habit no longer makes me uncomfortably warm. I appreciate that evening comes a bit sooner and I can stargaze without freezing for a little while. And I'm extra excited when I can pull out the jeans and the boots and the hoodies.

One more revolution around the sun, one more autumn to enjoy.

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