Let’s face it, there’s something refreshing — sublime, spiritual even — about autumn’s launch: evenings gradually grow cooler, winds freshen, leaves blush and fans and air conditioners can be lifted from their perches and tucked away, again.
It’s a time to rediscover the complete comfort of a sweatshirt or a pair of pajama bottoms, the invigoration of a crisp late-afternoon walk, the utter cheerfulness that can be summoned from a simple cup of soup.
It is with anticipation that we sense a gentle breeze’s advance on a screen window, knowing the wash of cool air that only this time of year can deliver.
In this region, where we get to experience the full brunt of all seasons, the splendor of fall is particularly consuming.
It is a short burst of transition between more infamous and checkered hot and cold months.
We relish the uncomplicatedness of autumn, the slower pace, the first fire.
A porch swing, a few idle hours, and a good book can complete a day and leave one full.
It is a time to pick apples, to cut wood, to break down gardens and to run our pets ragged, much to their tail-wagging delight. Never too far away are hayrides, scenic drives and chili cook-offs.
There’s a football kickoff nearby most Saturdays.
Foliage invades us from all sides — resplendent, kaleidoscopic — and for a while we all become calendar-quality photographers.
It is a season for festivals and tours, community events that are transcendent for their backdrop of orange, red and yellow. Fall yields, too, an unquenchable array of sounds and wonderful aromas, like the gentle hint of a tray of almost-ready apple turnovers wafting from the kitchen.
In late fall, when we swap sweaters for jackets, it’d be easy to loathe what lurks — snow, bitter cold and, most wicked of all, the unfriendly jolt of the first home heating bill. But even then, there’s indulgence in the crunch of a thin layer of early-morning ice that covers a rested trail and gives leniently to the weight of the smallest footstep, even a jackrabbit’s.
Author Jim Bishop wrote that “autumn carries more gold in its pockets than all the other seasons.”
Poet William Cullen Bryant called autumn “the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
Winter is uncompromising, spring slow to evolve; summer sultry, but sticky, too.
Autumn is unimpeachable, I think.
Doubters should dwell not on what the season portends, chronologically; rather, they should appreciate it for what it is: inspiration for the soul, a harvest for the senses.
But breathe it in slowly. What it lacks in intensity, it makes up for with swiftness.
Paul Miller is The Keene (New Hampshire) Sentinel’s executive editor.