If I could pick one season to stay in perpetuity, it would hands down be fall. Fall is always the season I look forward to the most. Between the crispness of the air and the football games, autumn delightfully serves as an emblem of new beginnings. Although I’ve been out of school for, ahem, several years now, my mind still tracks time in semesters and backpacks. And now that I’ve married a teacher, I’m pretty sure that will always be the case.
Our son started preschool this year, which puts him on this same cycle. So far he’s blossomed there in a big way. I’m hoping that as he grows, he sees this time of year as a chance to reinvent himself, much like his father does. Fall means new people, and new opportunities to be different versions of yourself.
It also means new traditions. As we watch Miles run through the apple orchards, giddy with excitement and the anticipation of discovery, I can’t help but consider how a season that essentially signifies the end of something can be so beautiful. Autumn is in reality the equivalent of nature’s hospice care before seasonal death (an apt analogy for the bitter Chicago winters). Like hospice, it uses the bittersweet beauty of the leaves to palliate our pain over the end of greenery and warmth.
This combination, death and renewal, is what makes fall so exciting to me. I can use it as an excuse to let go of some things I’ve been holding on to, and I can start anew with fresh hope. I can grab an apple, set up to watch a football game, and realize that now can be the beginning of whatever I want it to be.
What fall traditions do you have? Do you enjoy it as much as I do, or are you just hunkering down in anticipation of winter?
Caleb Gardner is an amateur father and husband who writes at The Exceptional Man and dabbles in photography, design, and music. When listening to the cacophony of modern-day America, Caleb prefers a side of Scotch. He calls Chicago home, and in winter, less-nice things.