In the wildly disturbingly awesome movie classic Apocalypse Now, there is the oft-repeated quote of “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” It is a quote that shows how the fog of war works on the mind, body and soul. Come every October, I wake up smelling the autumn air that lends a psychological bent on my being. It is so easy to lament the end of summer and the oncoming winter. Last winter was brutal and something tells me this upcoming winter will not show any let up. Yet, despite falling into this in-between state of sadness and dread, autumn is a unique time of its own for reflection. It is a time to pick up that pumpkin-spiced latte and contemplate what happened thus far and what may be coming up.
I look out my backyard and start to see the leaves turning and falling. I wonder how many rakes will I need. I look out my front steps and wonder how much snow will accumulate there this winter. I think about how many salt bags will we need this winter in order to walk out into the cold world. Autumn is also the time for deep love. My son was born in late august. Thus, my maternity leave occurred in the autumn season. While the leaves fell all about me, I was falling in love with the most exquisite creature there is- my little boy. While the leaves turned, my ears filled with the loving cries of a tiny being. While the air started to turn crisp, my heart and body warmed all over.
The autumn is also a time for a private celestial celebration. My mother was born in the fall and while she is no longer with me on this earth, I can celebrate her warm love before the frost comes to bury us for a while. I bake an apple pie in her honor for it is the most simple of pies and yet the most smoothing. Of course, to me, nothing says autumn more than a cherry pie. The tartness mixed with gooeyness brings a deep sense of home to my body.
Poet John Keats describes the autumn time quite well in his poem “to autumn” in which he notes:
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
Autumn is also the time of Halloween where we get to celebrate a sense of the wackiness that lives within us all. We can outrightedly put on a mask that perhaps demonstrates better than our own faces who we really are or who we want to be. Who shall I be this year? It wouldn’t be anything new to put on a Wonder Woman outfit for that is who I am perceived to be ever day of my work life. Perhaps I can be Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld since purple and pink looks really good on me.
For a pop culture junkie like myself, autumn is also a great time to catch some Oscar-bait movies and some great television episodes. Usually “sweeps” period occurs in the autumn and we get treated to television episodes where main characters are killed off (somehow this is celebrated) and cliffhangers are introduced.
Ah, autumn. You truly warm my heart over. Autumn may actually be the best time to contemplate major life decisions. The latte and cherries will keep your taste buds on their toes and you can sit and see clearly for there is no excessive heat or coldness to cloud your mind over. I exhort you to take this time now and think of what you want the future to bring. Then go enjoy that pumpkin picking and carving-it’s a great exercise in ventilating and cutting away at one’s anger. Mmm. Pumpkin latte.