I am full of those bittersweet, yummy feelings that autumn always brings out in me — at least on the sunny days like today. This is by far my favorite time of the year. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what’s coming but it doesn’t change my feelings about fall. I like how it feels, and smells and looks. It’s cozy. Let all those romantics have spring! I have always agreed with Eliot about the cruelty of that one — if you’re not feeling hunky-dory great when all those little buds are budding it can be pretty awful. I should know, all of my major relationships breakups and my broken arm were in spring! The murmuring ex-husband — who loved the spring — used to pontificate about the ridiculousness of my preference for this pre-winter season. “What do you mean fall? You like that things Die? You like that the earth Rots?” He was very opinionated about most things — maybe it was the academic in him. His dislike of the season may also have had something to do with the fact that it brought on his asthmatic conditions in technicolor. If I had been reading as many mysteries then as I am now, I would have figured out a way to do away with him with mouldy leaves and hidden puffers. I could have avoided all that messy divorce stuff. Not really — I’m joking…really I am.
I don’t love everything about fall, ok. For instance I don’t like that the neighborhood Farmers’ Market closed yesterday. I know it makes seasonal sense especially living where we’re living and them farming where they’re farming. I mean, how many squashes could they sell or me buy if they kept open? But I’ll miss it because this was the first year I went to the market on a regular basis — just like the nursery rhyme. I even got to know some of the farmers this year. We were never on first name basis but we knew each other by the produce that they sold and I bought. I had my favorites, of course. There was this young guy who would only have four or five different things to sell each week. I’d always buy something from him because he told me that he had worked on this farm since he was 11 and now he owned it. He was so proud I teared up with his telling — he would also give me an extra ear of corn when I bought six. And every week I religiously bought beets and radishes from his neighbor because he was from Honduras and I could ask my questions in Spanish and pretend I was back in Spain. Then there was this “older” gentleman who sold blueberries and only blueberries. When the season was finished for blueberries, he was gone. And now they’re all gone until next April. Sigh.
There is one other thing I don’t love about fall: it’s pitch black dark at 6:30 in the morning when the cats, and sometimes me, think I should get up and begin my day. Instead, we all just pull the covers over our heads and go back to sleep. But this means that I don’t get up until 7:30 and by the time I brush my teeth, wash my face, feed the cats and exercise it’s 9:30 before I have breakfast and 10 before I start to work. This always seems a little decadent to my Capricorn being. But, why? I mean, really, no one is paying me to be at the computer keys at a certain time. Aren’t my hours my own to set? And, furthermore, couldn’t they change each and every day? Yes, indeedy. But here’s the problem, even if I start working at 11 or 12 or 2 in the afternoon, I still blow-the-whistle at 5 p.m. — it’s imbedded in my mind after all those years with the lawyers where I would never, ever work after five unless they were paying for it (I finished off my university degree on that overtime). Why should I feel I have to put in a certain number of hours of work every day, eh? After all, no one is paying for any of my hours, so it should feel perfectly right to clock out at 5. Really, I have no choice in the matter since the cats are programmed to begin prancing back and forth in front of the computer at 4:55 and will not budge until I get up and feed them. I guess I could go back to work but by then it’s dark enough outside to turn on lights and curl up in the rocking chair with a book, aperitif and glass of wine.
I think that I always loved fall because of the darkness and coolness. I was born very close to the darkest, shortest day of the year. So I think as my little self came out of the dark womb and into a dark December she decided that this was where she’d feel most at home — she was right. So every fall I have a need to hunker down, to curl up and rejuvenate. I may even enjoy the hibernation of winter — well, let’s not go that far. There are too many fresh memories of how terrible last year was!