Just as I have learned to like squash and taking naps, I have also learned to love and look forward to Fall. Until recently, I always entered into it with a vague feeling of anxiety and a sadness over the loss of long summer days. I awaited the impending doom of an insurmountable test that never came to be. Every year of school was more similar than not to the year before it, but I was a sucker for the threats of my teachers, "You just wait 'til next year, this'll never cut it." "If you think this is hard, wait until you have to diagram a sentence, learn long division, algebra, SATs, AP history, college term papers, senior projects, civil procedure, appellate advocacy..." I bought it hook, line, and sinker and found myself anxious each August as the syllabus ominously foreshadowed what would surely be the year I failed out of school. Of course, I never did and I always ended up happy and adjusted into my new class, managing my assignments just fine. Unfortunately, the anxiety was never quite enough to keep me from losing track of the notes I'd taken and end up with wads of undoubtedly important paper in the bottom of my bag by the end of October. Along the way, I found things to like about Fall like new school clothes and supplies; and later, sorority parties, house decorations, recipes to try, but I would always have traded those for a few more weeks of my beloved summer.
I don't know what exactly has changed. It might be ending my lifelong career as a student, or maybe it's, and don't tell Craig, a passing interest in football. Probably not, but it's possible. Maybe it has to do with living in a part of the country now that actually has Fall. On the Coast it's more like, Warm, Muggy Hot, Still Pretty Hot, and Three Weeks of Cold. You can never put your t-shirts up. I have spent Thanksgiving in 80 degree heat, followed the next day by a hard freeze. In any case, I find myself actually looking forward to this change of season. This time last year I toyed with the idea of a positive attitude, but decided against it. This year, I'm all in. I finally get why people say that Fall is their favorite time of the year. Personally, I will always be partial to Spring with it's technicolor green, mild breezes, and mardi gras, but I think I may be coming around to Fall as being more than the harbinger of chilly short days.
This past weekend, I spent the labor day holiday on a lake with Craig's family. I spent as much time as I could in the water. Growing up on the Coast and with an avid swimmer for a Dad, I spent many hours somewhere between pruned and waterlogged. It's been several years since the last time I had the chance to dive in. It was almost baptismal to float around with my ears under water, hearing only my breath and the gurgling of the lake. We woke up, after spending the night on a screen porch, to a cool Autumn morning. I am so glad I was able to have one last lazy summer weekend, but I'm looking forward this year to the leaves' third act.