Monday, September 23, 2013

In The Pursuit of Happiness: On the beauty of fall

I've never fully understood those people whose very core being is affected by the seasons. You know the type. The man whose depression neatly mirrors the wintry blizzards and the dark cold nights. Or the woman who grows restless with the first buds or sprinkle of rain on the first day of spring. Or even the child who can barely sit still on the last day of school, the promise of warm, endless days of summer a mere three hours away. I remained ever the skeptic. That is, until a few years ago. My sister and I were out on our usual morning walk. For the last few days, I'd been feeling out of sorts. Was I coming down with a cold? Was I suffering from lady troubles? Did I eat a bad batch of my mother's famous Hamburger Helper? But sadly, no hypothesis rang true. And then I saw it on that walk. Peeking out from the patch of grass, practically hugging the bark of a summer tree, lay a lonely little leaf. Like a diamond in the rough, it stood out proud and distinct in its tiny shady glen. Though its colors were not in full bloom, there was no mistaking its metamorphosis. A collage of deep reds, light oranges and faint yellows scooted the once lush green hue out of the frame.
That's when it hit me: The colors of fall -- a harbinger of things to come. And then, like magic, for the first time on that very walk, my sense of dread and doom following the end of summer transformed into anticipation. I anticipated the chilly fall afternoons and evenings, where people warm themselves with a tall glass of cider. I anticipated the frosty mornings as you walk to school or work, plowing through the frost-laden grass with a light jacked zipped up tightly to your chin. I anticipated squealing like a little girl at the prospect of carving a massive pumpkin, carefully placing every seed aside and then roasting them in the oven and lathering them with a touch of salt. But all the while, I couldn't help but wonder: Does fall get overshadowed by the prospect of the holiday season a mere two months away and the nostalgia of those lazy hazy days of summer? Is fall the Jan Brady of the seasons? And is it not fall that is really the most wonderful time of the year?
The day was perfect for a trip to the apple orchard on that hot -- and uncharacteristically humid -- September afternoon. "Let's go and get some apples and donuts for dessert,” suggested my mother. Leave it to her to have all the good ideas. As I stepped out of the car, I heard my shoes meet the gravel path, sending swirls of rocks into the afternoon, and then heard the faint sounds of a fiddle in the distance as people mingled about the pumpkin patch and apple fields or just enjoyed shooting the breeze on the farmhouse porch. I was in love. In love with fall and all its splendid gifts. My heart pumped even harder when we stepped into the shop. The smell of taffy apples, cider and donuts intoxicated my lungs. My eyes were mesmerized by the hardwood floor that squeaked its presence like an ancient house, and I meandered up and down the aisles like a child browsing Santa's workshop. The bags of shiny apples. The pumpkin decorations. The fall candles and wreathes. It was almost like being wrapped in a giant bag of candy corn. As we pulled away, our apples and donuts in tow, the sun swept across the field, and the wind blew a cool fall breeze. I felt calm. No worries. I sat calm just like that small, tiny leaf that lay under the tree. Go forth and enjoy the season of colors and coolness. Carve that pumpkin with a scary face. Eat as many donut holes as your little tummy can hold. Maybe even rake a pile of leaves only to jump headfirst into their mattress-like cushiness. Now, all that's left to complete my fall puzzle is a large bag of candy corn. Sugar jitters be damned!

P.S. More apple orchard fun! :)

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. What a way with words! Beautifully written. Such talent.

  2. I'm not sure you know what a diamond in the rough is.

  3. Gorgeous! We visited a cider mill yesterday and went apple picking - my first time in the US and it was marvellous fun. We're heading up north in a couple of weeks to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous autumn colours in the national parks, can't wait!

  4. D Moon -- a diamond in the rough is something that has exceptional characteristics, but lacks the final touches that would make it truly stand out.

    I described the leaf as a diamond in the rough. Though it was small and distinct, its gorgeous colors had yet to be in full bloom.

    Hope this helps! :)

  5. I am not one of those people who gets very into the changing of the seasons but my affinity towards warm weather is offset by my love of all things pumpkin!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  6. This was a beautiful post Melissa. I didn't realize how much I missed seasons until I moved to a tropical country. I love going back or visiting other countries during the spring and fall. I suppose that is why I like spring so much as well - it is the anticipation of good changes, warmer weather, and renewal.

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  7. Oh how pretty! I could live in these pictures!



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