Here’s to Autumn

It’s time for my Sunday Reflection, in which I post some of my thoughts on almost any issue connected to writing, faith or life in general.

So, for this week’s reflection, I simply want to say how much I like Autumn. I’m not even sure where to begin, although I suppose a logical place is the weather. I’m not a huge fan of the heat, so when Autumn comes on a cool, crisp breeze, blowing the insufferable heat and humidity of summer away, I’m usually pretty happy.

There is also the issue of the colors, obviously, as Autumn leaves are one of God’s truly great creations. There are some really cool design elements in nature, of course, but leaves that go crazy in red, orange and yellow hues on their journey from vibrant green to dying brown is certainly one of them.

Beyond even the feel and the sights of Autumn, there is the smell. It is a hard smell to describe, though as my daughter has observed a few times recently, the smell of wood-burning is a big part of it. These crisp, cool days mentioned above can lead to some cold nights, too, and many folks get their fireplaces cranked up and running. That smell of smoke rising from their chimneys and drifting over the houses in the neighborhood is another sign of Autumn.

I suspect, though, that my love of Autumn is deeper than its sights and sounds and smells, deeper than memories of playing football in the yard and leaping in piles of leaves. There is something in the feel of Autumn that resonates with me and always has.

In the world of archetypal literary theory and criticism, Autumn is associated geographically with the West, chronologically with sunset or twilight, thematically with things falling or fading, and in terms of genre with tragedy. As opposed to Spring, which is associated with the East, with morning or sunrise, with things rising or newborn, and also with comedy. And, while the Spring associations are generally cheerier, I am more drawn to the Autumn ones – especially in stories.

There are, of course, some great comedies – that is, stories that end happily, not necessarily stories that are funny – and they have their place. And yet, I find that I am drawn often to many of the great tragedies. Maybe this is a sign that something is wrong with me, but I don’t think so. It is probably my own subconscious sense that tragedies make so much sense in this broken world, that when someone tells one beautifully, something in me says, ‘Yes, this is true.’

At any rate, whatever it is, I love Autumn, and now that it is officially here, I hope you will enjoy it too.