Autumn redux

The flowers in my garden are fading, but the trees are gold and red and brighten the view from inside the house. The sun still shines daily, but mornings are cold and walks are postponed until temperatures rise. I want to spend every waking moment out in the weakening sunshine. To hell with housework, to hell with musts and shoulds. I will take a good book into the yard and the sun, and read until sunset.

But of course I don't. Like most people I stick to routine—though mine I confess is loose. Still, I do what's expected of me, what needs to be done, and if there's any time left in the day I sit down at the computer and read email and the news, while the good book lies unopened on the table. Am I the only one who short-circuits my own best interests? I think not.

This sunshine, this paler, less intense sister to summer sun, is a joyful blessing, holding off with outstretched hands the cold winter days it presages. I stare out the window at the fading blossoms and wonder why autumn, this season of slow decay, brings with it so much color and beauty, as though celebrating the coming sleep. What is the scientific rationale for all this color? Why this glorious curtain call? What was the creator thinking?

Fall is also, of course, the season of beginnings. For no matter how long we have been away from school, that annual urge to begin the year anew tugs at us from somewhere deep in our consciousness, and if I was smart I'd use that urge to delve deeper, to try new ideas, to start new projects—or even finish old ones. The leaves outside may be dying but inside I can metaphorically turn over a new one and try again to do better.

But not yet. Not quite yet. Now, at this moment, I will take up that unread book and move into that paler sun. It won't last much longer, and when it fades into rainclouds and winter, then I'll explore those new ideas. I will! I promise.