It does not matter to me that Albert Camus once called it “a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” And I don't care that it brings days free of humidity and bugs, nights cozying up to a campfire wearing jackets and wool gloves. Autumn sucks. It is the slow slip into winter and the dimming of the lights.
It was easy thing to wish for back in late July when the steering wheel felt hotter to the touch than the cast iron gates of hell. After a summer of mopping sweat from your face and swatting mosquitoes these first crisp days of autumn feel like a godsend. But October is a cruel deceiver, a master at the sleight of hand. The trade is subtle— a shift in the atmosphere, the tilt of our shadows.
Maybe my disdain for the fall stems from childhood when the end of those sultry summer months meant the start of a new school year and staring down a future of report cards and streetlight curfews, of crock-pot dinners and corduroy. And leaves, the great deluge of leaves. I’ll allow that before they are a nuisance they are a wonder. When the color of summer— the chlorophyll— is gone and the carotenoids (orange pigments) and xanthophylls (yellow pigments) finally show through the result always seems like more than mere chemistry. Like some out-of-season fireworks show gone mute every broadleaf from here to Mount Katahdin will glow like a Roman candle. Beauty is a moving target though. Before you’ve even pulled your favorite hoodie over your head and finished lacing up your boots the colors will have burned out, and the leaves will drop like dingy brown confetti, the party suddenly over.
I have a good friend who says the last day of baseball is the first day of winter. He is already counting the steps of the long and muddy slog back to spring. I’m counting too. I miss the hum of summer. I miss the radiance and burn. Autumn sucks, this damp reminder that days come, seasons go, and years too quickly move past.