Of all the seasons, fall is my absolute favorite. This is not to say that I don't love them all; I really do.
Each season that we are in, I hate to see it go but I love to see the next season come. I could never live in a place where we didn't have the four seasons.
Autumn, though, makes me smile. It is a forgiving season. With all the vibrant colors, the crispness in the air and the bounties of harvest, how can you not feel a little more light-hearted and carefree.
People talk about the lazy days of summer. Well, I certainly haven't seen any of those for a very long time. Maybe it is the modern world that we live in, maybe it is the technology or maybe we are just a busier generation, but it seems as though once summer gets here there is not a free minute to enjoy it.
Every weekend there is a wedding, a graduation or anniversary party or a get-together with friends. These are all great, but it doesn't leave much time to just enjoy the beauty of the season.
Fall is different. Our lives tend to slow down a bit.
There is time to breathe and take a walk to enjoy those crisp mornings, to take a break from raking the leaves and shuffle through them. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular too... and there is time for that cup of coffee on the swing to soak them in.
We look at this season differently too. Most of the other seasons are centered around holidays.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and most other special occasions are steeped in emotion. They are times for reflecting on previous ones and are sometimes melancholy when loved ones are no longer sharing those holidays with us.
Not so with fall. We have Halloween, which is meant to be purely fun, no emotions tied to it. So it is with the whole season.
It is the time to reap the rewards of everything that was planted in the spring, whether it be crops, garden vegetables or flowers. This itself is a reason to be jovial. The fruits of our labors mean the yearly paycheck for farmers.
Bounty from the garden mean a well-stocked pantry. Even for those that don't harvest or preserve their own produce, a good harvest means a plentiful supply, which means lower prices at the store. Good harvest is good for all.
Even the chores don't seem so daunting at this time of year. Yes, I hear the comments like "I'd like fall if I didn't know what was coming next." Well, I, for one, do not intend to let anything take away from the joy of this season.
Sure, we do mundane tasks like changing furnace filters, changing batteries in smoke alarms, putting lawn ornaments away, etc.
There is even joy in this, most of these chores are outside tasks, which means we get to enjoy the great fall air. The hot, humid air days of summer are (hopefully) a thing of the past for a while. The annoying bugs of summer have gone by the wayside. What's not to enjoy by being outside!
OK, back to the social scene. People tend to get less busy. Weekends are not always booked for three months in advance.
This is really sad, but my best friend and I have not done one thing together all summer. Every single weekend has been full for her and the same with me. Yep, these are the lazy days of summer.
Autumn brings a different social life. Bonfires and tailgate parties replace weddings and other formal events.
Sometimes these are thrown together at the last minute and the guest list consists of whoever can make it. Grabbing the grandkids and heading for the local apple orchard to pick apples or to load up on cider and doughnuts replaces the rigors of baseball practice and scheduled games.
It's time to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Catch up with your neighbor or actually just enjoy sitting on the deck. It's a time to stop and take a breather, not only from the hard, physical work of summer but also from the stresses of our lives.
I walked past the fall decorations in the basement today. Their cheery, smiling and whimsical faces brightened my day.
It's time for them to come up and brighten my outside world. After all, they have a very short time to shine.
As I am writing this, I notice a vivid sunset out of the window. Time to take a break and enjoy it.
After all, the sunset, like this autumn season is way too short. Most good things don't last long enough.
Photo by Getty Images/Kenneth_Keifer.