I used to say that Fall was my favorite season. In truth, perhaps it is. But the older I get, the more I believe it is the change of the season that I appreciate, as much as the season itself. I have heard myself say this about all of the seasons. Summer brings long days and thunderstorms. More time with family or travel or sleep. Winter brings holidays and, for those of us who are heavy sweaters, less sweating. Spring brings new life. Baby ducks and gator sightings and a world that springs to life inside the bloom on the end of a stem.
Fall is special. It represents surviving the heat. And the first of the school year. It ushers in long sleeve fashions and pumpkins and costumes made for tiny people. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. High school football. COLLEGE FOOTBALL. All the football. All of it. I can smell the hint of a backyard firepit when I walk the dog in the late afternoon shadows that reach longer in the shifting light. The days are shorter and people huddle on their couches together instead of finding things to do outside. The stale air of August becomes crisp and friendly, like a side hug from a friend in stead of a backslap from a linebacker.
Every season has a soundtrack. Summer’s is thunder and squealing children. In Spring it is the call of every bird I didn’t know existed. In Winter it is Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby. And in Fall, the soundtrack is the absence of sound. There is a hush I never noticed before. Why have I never noticed the quiet? I can hear it from my porch. I can hear it inside my house. With the dying cadence of the cicadas comes the quiet I can’t ignore. And wouldn’t want to.
Maybe you have to be 50 to hear it. Maybe you just have to be listening. Either way, I’m in.
a forceful quiet
September carries in a dry swirl
of waning light
and forceful quiet
Overnight the air has shaken off summer
and wears a different cloak,
deep gold, like liquid butter that drips through cypress branches and lounges reflected in a river that holds its breath.
Afternoon shadows yawn and stretch across the lawn as the hush leans in.
A forceful quiet that I can hear from any place if I am listening.
I am listening.