********************This past Saturday marked the first Day of Autumn, my very favorite season of the year. There is not a single time of year that can take me back to my youth quicker than Fall - memories of leaf piles that were jumped in, pumpkins that were carved, and foliage that was so beautiful that it could take your breath away. I'm not sure what takes me back in time more - the scenery or the smells - but I always feel more alive in Autumn, which is probably downright odd as this is the time of year when everything starts to die and fade away before the onslaught of Old Man Winter.
When I lived in California, lo' those many years ago, this was always the time of year when I missed Connecticut the most. When you've lived in a place where the seasons actually change, it's hard to live in a place where they don't. You can't really mark the passage of time in Long Beach, California like you can in Boston, Massachusetts. And even though you can go up to the moutains and view some foliage from many parts of California, it's not the same as living amongst the changing leaves and the changing light patterns. You can't really live the seaons out there as one day just melts into another minus the glorious passing of time that we get to witness here in New England year after year.
If simple things in life are what makes one the happiest, then I would have to say that I am truly the happiest in Autumn. We have survived another hot and sticky summer and have not yet entered the hideous cold of winter. It's the time of the harvest, which in olden times was THE most important time of the year. It's the time of Halloween and Thanksgiving - two of the best holidays in the whole year! And who isn't happy dressing up in a costume and being someone else for even just one night a year?
As a child I loved Halloween - the cheesy costumes, the plastic masks that didn't breath except through a tiny slit for the mouth and eye holes, the one night of the year when you could bang on both neighbors' and strangers' doors and they'd be more than happy to throw something in the bag you were carrying. I loved the spooky stories, too - the ghosts, the witches, the headless horsemen, the haunted houses ... I loved them all. And I loved the parties - the "scary" snacks, putting on a blindfold and touching the peeled-grape eyes and the cold spaghetti intestines, bobbing for apples, and the seance circles where we tried to bring back Abe Lincoln from the dead. The more scared I was the better because this was the only time of year when it was not only okay to be scared but you were expected to be scared.
Halloween has changed a lot since I was a kid, it doesn't seem like it's anywhere near as fun as it was before some people took a lot of the innocence out of it but the memories remain and maybe that's why I love this time of year so much. I have a ton of happy memories from Autumn and if I stand outside and breathe in the Fall air, they can all come rushing back to me in exquisite detail. And who can't like reliving some of their favorite memories - regardless of the time of year?