HAPPY FIRST OF OCTOBER: THE OFFICIAL UNOFFICIAL FIRST DAY OF FALL (can we make this a thing?)! Anyways, I love fall. To me, the whole season is just magical. Everything’s changing and turning and looking positively enchanted. From the fall colours (red, gold, yellow, orange) to the fall flavours (PUMPKIN SPICE, apple cider, squash) to the fall festivities (hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin carving, apple picking)- everything about this season just feels like one big blanket to get warm and cozy with in preparation for the coming winter.
To be honest, growing up, I had none of these autumnal luxuries, and I don’t remember being particularly entranced by the season as a child, but I think that’s because I didn’t really have a fall season. I grew up in a border town in Southeast Texas, and we used to joke that there were only two seasons: summer and two weeks of winter. Summer stuck around for too long, and the leaves went from dull green to sickly yellow to shabby brown to gone in the span of a few days and suddenly it was Christmas break. I think because of that, I never really got a sense of what “change” looked like. Day in and day out, things stayed the same, and the passage of time was marked by self-imposed constraints like the school year or network television (I knew it was fall when ABC aired the Halloween and Thanksgiving episodes of my favourite shows, i.e. Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenaged Witch).
The first time I really got a sense of how transformative this season could really be was my freshman year at Asbury, a private liberal arts Christian university in small-town Kentucky- ’quaint’ is definitely a word that comes to mind. As the last of the warm summer months ebbed away, and the chill, crisp autumn air began to seep into my bones, I remember knowing I was the brink of something wholly different from anything I had ever experienced before: outside and in. Eighteen years old, fresh out of high school, and completely out of my element, I felt the thrill of impending adventure, and I was terrified. I missed home. I missed my family and friends and I missed my home church. I had just left behind everyone and everything I knew and loved and decided to start over new in a far away town (it was about a 22 hour drive to my home in Texas). Confession time: The moment my parents and sisters left my dorm room, like, the very minute they stepped out of the door and started walking down the hallway, I melted into a puddle of tears, and my roommate and best friend since middle school (I was lucky enough to have her on this journey with me) had to rush over to me and just hold me for, like, five minutes. And she isn’t really much of a hugger, so that was a big deal for us.
The reason I say all this is because that was really the first time I was forced out of the familiar in every way imaginable, and that’s what happens when we experience change. Granted, it isn’t always as huge and drastic as leaving home, or going to university, or starting a new job, or ending a relationship. Sometimes it’s as small and simple as the turning of the leaves. After getting used to seeing lush green trees lining our drives to and from work or school, suddenly a row of vibrant red and gold flames ushers us into a new season and the beginning of new adventures.