Note: This is the fifth essay in the series of “Why We Love Autumn.” I recently asked some friends who love autumn as much as I do to reflect on what made them so excited for autumn to arrive. The answers will be varied and have a different voice each post. Myles and I think we might be cousins due to our mutual Norwegian heritage and only reunited in our arrival in Waco in the year 2000. He was my main Lost buddy back in those days!
ON LOVING WHAT I’VE NEVER SEEN
Growing up in Shreveport, LA, we heard about this thing called “Fall” by some, “Autumn” by others. It apparently was this mythical occurrence, an explosion of sight and sound, with reds and oranges crackling underfoot, as the whole world slowly burned to a wintery ash. In Shreveport, there was only hints of something else between summer and winter, usually prophesied by cooler temperatures and falling pine straw. But there were no colors that were not in summer, and no sounds telling us the world was burning down, and that it should have been.
And then, came Arkansas. For four years, I was surrounded by flames and glowing embers up in the skies, burnt oranges and ruby reds. And then I moved to Texas, which followed Louisiana in a long, slow march from summer to winter. In this scheme, hot gives way to less hot, which gives way to wet or occasionally cold. There is no outrageous transition; there is only the utter collapse of hot into cold, like falling asleep with your clothes on.
And so, I hear about this thing called “Fall” or “Autumn,” and hope to see it again one day, and hope that it was not like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, a figment of childhood. Occasionally, I fly places and see the embers in the air on certain months, and think in those moments that maybe I am simply growing young, remembering and hoping.