The Joys of the Fall Season

For some, saying goodbye to the summer season is a difficult thing to do. For others, welcoming the fall season means preparing for a period of bright colors, cool weather, and a series of holidays. From a personal standpoint, I rejoice at the first sign of “sweater weather.”

Fall, otherwise known as autumn, is full of great weather, good food, and fun activities. The season is perfect for taking a visit to a cider mill, spending time with friends around the campfire, or simply enjoying the scenery. Sunsets in the fall present a brilliant orange hue unlike any other, and the darker, cooler starry nights often seem magical. Vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows cover maple trees, allowing you to gaze at an artistic masterpiece just by looking out the window. Fall is a great time to take a walk outside, as there’s something satisfying about walking under a canopy of fall foliage and hearing the sound of crunching leaves underfoot. In addition to providing natural beauty, the season presents an opportunity for growth, as fall brings a new school year and new experiences.

Fall is a busy time, packed full of events and activities to look forward to. Holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas mean plenty of celebrating. There’s also a galore of fun things to do, as the fall season is a great time to go camping, hiking, and more. Seasonal activities such as picking apples, attending a college football game, or conquering a corn maze are great ways to make memories with loved ones. Furthermore, there are opportunities to carve pumpkins, go on a hayride, and share delicious food with family. Along the topic of food, there’s plenty of it, including an abundance of pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes. In addition to traditional seasonal delicacies, there’s apple and pumpkin everything, including that pumpkin spiced latte you love to post about on Snapchat.

Another wonderful thing about fall is the weather. Cold drizzles indicate that it’s the perfect time to light a fire in the fireplace and snuggle up with a cup of tea or hot cider. The words “cute,” “comfy,” and “cozy” come to mind when breaking out the suede boots and fuzzy blankets, as the first slight chill in the air calls for donning comfy sweaters and scarves in preparation for the cooler temperatures. Instead of worrying about drowning in sweat or getting a sunburn, you have the chance to decide which oversized jacket or flannel to wear next.

On a deeper level, fall serves as a reminder of the changing nature of life. During this time, the life cycle of many plants finishes or turns into the other stages, with the dead leaves on the ground disintegrating and turning into part of the soil. The change in scenery presents an opportunity to reflect on the impermanence of things, with the need for us to continuously grow and embrace the present. As such, fall is a great time to think about what we are thankful for. With so many different holidays and activities, it is perfect for cherishing and spending time with loved ones. Overall, fall gives a sense of comfort, fun, and reflection that makes it a truly unique and enjoyable season.

Its and Ots

I am sitting in a tree, a tall maple, whose leaves are preparing to leave. They have on their winter jackets of red, gold, and orange, drained of the chlorophyll that gave them a green pigment. I step tenderly on the thinner branches as I approach the top, where the more flexible limbs are brushing against the telephone line cutting between them. The branches shake with my movements, the browned seeds releasing their grip beneath the leaves and cascading slowly around me. Their wide plumes, like propellers, allow them to slowly descend through the air, spinning like helicopters as they fall through the myriad of limbs. Landing in the carpet of early-departed leaves, they fall to the earth. My hands hold the hardened bark as my feet rest in the nook where the branches stems from the trunk. Leaves and helicopters descend around me, shaken from their fragile holds by my disruption. I am a razor, gliding close along the surface, trimming away the dying hairs. As the shaved beard leaves a beautiful mess over the forest floor, the tight dark branches hold up the shattered remains of skinless limbs. The dead boughs, stripped of bark, fell away from the body, gone to atrophy as they hollowed out along the inside. The tree was going to sleep. It, like me, like you, like the chipmunk living inside the trunk, is on a cycle. We are not so different.

Last spring, as I wandered through the woods, taking in the bounty of life that was sprouting up from the freshly-thawed earth, my mind was distracted with the pronouns surrounding gender inequality. How “he” was one letter short of “she” in English, how all ‘men’ were created equal, and how, in Romantic languages, the default gender of a plural pronoun was masculine unless the group it pertained to consisted of entirely females. I recollected my third grade teacher redefining the denotation of a noun for my class with Schoolhouse Rock. She, as supplemented by the video, referred to a noun as a person,place, or thing–with plants and animals falling under the “thing” category. As I walked through the woods, where the trees and flowers were beginning to grow new buds, people were walking with their dogs, their tails flailing, tongues lolling as they were excited by the freshness of spring, I could not pair these “things” in the same category as listless rocks and the stagnant park bench. To me, those were “its”–“things,” “objects,” not life. They did not contain the sort of life that resonated between us, trees, and our four-legged friends. We were something else, something organic. Perhaps the line between “people” and “things” needed to be blurred? We were not so different from these organic things. The inequalities of gender in the specification of language could be erased by joining the organic things together under one pronoun–“ot.” Organic thing vs. inorganic thing–“it.” Life was sacred and the endless diversity of it need not be segregated. It’s were non-life. Ot’s were life.

As I am sitting in this tree, this fellow ot, I wonder what ot feels. Is this empathy a mirror or a window? Does this tree look at me, standing on ots arms and see an equal being of life or simply a razor shaving away ots dead leaves?