“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall,” says F. Scott Fitzgerald in one of my favorite books, The Great Gatsby.
I’ve always found this quote intriguing because fall can easily be viewed as much more of an ending than a beginning.
The leaves turn beautiful colors then start to disappear. Crops go from green to brown and are harvested. Daylight gets shorter and temperatures get colder.
Even the term autumn, which is interchangeable with fall, means a period of maturity or incipient decline, according to Merriam-Webster.
But I think I’m with Fitzgerald on this. Fall is a beginning.
Some of my favorite things happen in the fall, like cooler weather, gorgeous colors and fall agritourism. Who doesn’t love pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hayrides?
Plus, fall brings Halloween and Thanksgiving, two top-notch holidays.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the return of Penn State football. And this year, fall brought Phillies playoff baseball for the first time in 11 years — that’s a great new beginning in my mind.
Though the trees may lose their leaves and the harvest may signal the end of the grain season, these so-called “endings” actually make way for the cycle to begin again.
Trees couldn’t grow new leaves without dropping the old ones. Farmers can’t plant crops in the spring without clearing fields in the fall, and the harvest revenue is reinvested in spring planning.
I visited Connecticut during the last weekend in September, and though I was a little too early to witness the bright fall colors of New England, I was able to spend a little time in the Hidden Valley Preserve and walk across the Henry David Thoreau bridge.
Thoreau writes about my favorite season of fall in his essay Autumnal Tints, which captures the beauty and importance of this season more than anything else I’ve read.
In it, he writes about the significance of leaves dropping from the trees.
“The falling leaves, all over the forest, are protecting the roots of my plants,” he says.
As leaves fall and breakdown, they build up the soils and help strengthen the plants.
In this sense, falling leaves are not an ending. They bring forth new beginnings.
Yes, the days are shorter and the temperature is colder, but this time of year is also a launching pad for life to begin a new cycle.
Enjoy this season of fall — both the endings and the beginnings.
Oh, and let’s go Phillies!
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