Autumn… Fall… a time of transition, of anticipation, or preparation.
I think that fall has always been one of my favorite times of year. I loved going back to school (for a few weeks at least!) and the clean slate of a new year. New ideas, perhaps new friends, a chance to transform into the person I wanted to be. I’m something of an optimist, always keeping in mind Tolkien’s words in The Hobbit: “Where there’s life there’s hope.” As long as I’m breathing, this new season could be the season that changes it all! Hope springs eternal for students with the chance to try new classes, new teachers, new personas. It is actually a little sad that we don’t get that opportunity for self-reinvention as adults.
Although fall is associated with the harvest and trees shedding their leaves, preparing for winter, it still feels like something wonderful is about to happen. The change means progress. This year has been a challenging one for me on several fronts, but that subtle shift towards winter feels instructive. “Learn to let things go, Alyssa! Take it easy and rest. Dig a little deep to restore yourself so you can come back stronger.” So much of the summer is just surviving the heat! Fall seems to say, “Ok, relax and savor life.”
I always know that first day of real autumn weather. It isn’t exactly cool out, but it is like something in the atmosphere has relented. There’s no oppression in the heat. There is even a bit of bite in the coolness. This year it happened in mid-September, after weeks of unbroken heat waves with more humidity than our desert is used to. Then one magical morning, I open the front door and there it is, ready to greet me like a surprise visit from an old friend. A strangely familiar nip in the air.
The temptation is to just immerse myself in pumpkin-flavored coffee and snuggly sweaters, but of course those days are weeks away. (I do admit I indulged myself with a pound of pumpkin coffee from my local roasters, Tonyan Coffee. Mmmm…) In the desert, the nights start cooling off enough to sleep with blankets on, or brew a pot of decaf while the windows are still open. How heavenly if it hits 65 degrees at night!
And here, at the beginning of October, it feels like those cold nights with the threat of snow are still a long way off, but they will be here before I know it. Already the stores are carrying Christmas decorations, right next to Halloween costumes. We have holiday sales planned for the bookstore that we have been working on for weeks. Soon I’ll be bundling my son into a snow suit for a once-a-year trip up to Wrightwood to see snow. I know that it is physically impossible that time is speeding up as Fall goes on, but I would swear it does.
The sun is setting sooner, so it is dark by the time the bookstore closes. Cole’s Halloween costume is all picked out. We have our plans for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (but we haven’t figured out Thanksgiving yet!) and we have even started planning for Christmas. I will make sure I find some time to sit, savor a warm cup of pumpkin coffee, snuggled in a sweater, dreaming about what I can become before this magical season is swept away.
Alyssa has a passion for the small business community. She is Owner at LocalAndIndependent.com, Co-owner and Marketing Director at Hi Desert Book Oasis Used Books, and Owner, Community Builder at RelyLocal.com – Victorville, CA.