A week after the autumnal equinox, I'm beginning to feel the fall in the air. It's not just the cool temperatures (in the 50s overnight) or the color in the leaves that are spiraling to the ground and begging to be raked. I can feel it in the deep blue of the sky and in the cool breeze.
The days are shorter. The darkness lingers later into the morning, and it snatches away the evening light. Tonight, we sat on the deck as the gloaming light cast an eerie brightness around us — soft and diffused, not direct sunlight but light reflected and refracted by the clouds and the air, a perfect light that illumines without harshness. In that light, I could see the autumn with its brisk walks and leaves to rake and joyful celebrations to come. I could feel the early sunsets coming and the shivering cold that will inevitably follow. I could picture the yard, now green and sprinkled with bright colors, as it lost it tints and turned a listless gray-brown, and how it would look under a blanket of snow, a white, still ocean surface without movement or sound. The T-shirts and shorts will disappear, and heavy coats will come out, and we will bundle against the cold and carry lights in our hands to hold back the darkness.
The changing of the seasons no longer surprise me. I am experienced. I expect them now. But each year, year after year, they bring me excitement to know that the familiar will be transposed, the heat will turn to chill and the light will turn to dark. The sun will hang low, and comfort will mean heat, not cooling. And then everything will turn over, and we will greet the spring as enthusiastically as this week we greet the fall. The earth spins in its 584 million mile orbit, and we experience the movement not as speed, not as soaring through the vastness of space, but as changes in the light.