33.7414° N, 118.1048° W
I’ve never been a person who loves the fall season. It signifies the end of long, hot and bright summer days. It means less sunlight, heavier clothes, and colder ocean swims are in my future for the next three months.
But this year I’ve grown a fondness to fall and the soft changes it ushers in.
It is a bold and romantic season. Fall is gentle in its change from the hot whether, waking me up to a salty ocean breeze and fog and then warming me up with the leftover heat from summer in the afternoon.
How can I hate a season where, with the exception of my father, the most important people in my life were born? I have three months to celebrate the lives of my closest friends and the life of my stunning and brilliant mother. Fall is the birthplace of friendship and family. It naturally draws me to spend more time with friends and family instead of venturing off on my own.
David Ramirez, Mumford and Sons, and Florence and the Machine sound their absolute best from my car speakers in the fall. I’m listening to Florence sing “I am the same, I am the same, I am trying to change. I am the same, I am the same, I’m trying to change,” while driving down the coast with the windows down and the heater on and I feel like this restlessness is understood.
I have been the same for so long. I don’t want to believe that it’s too late for me to change. I am trying to shake off old, useless habits and desires that are stunting me from growth.
It’s difficult to be honest with myself. It’s humiliating to admit that no, I still don’t have it together on even a basic level. I am not where I want to be in life or in my writing. There is no one around to blame here but me. It’s time for me to get up off the ground and get to work.
All of the distractions that summer offers dissipates with the heat and I am forced to face my fears rather than turn away from them. I can see the consequences that come from listening to fear—the lack of growth, broken trust, and overwhelming disappointment—and see that these are the seeds I have been sowing and attending to for the past year. It is not the harvest I wanted to produce. It is barely enough to keep me going until the next one.
I recently read about some cultures that observe the beginning of fall as the start of the new year. It is the end of all of the difficult sowing and growing of crops and a time when we are invited to enjoy the year’s hard labor and the lessons learned from the difficult seasons.
This is an invitation to start fresh, as demonstrated through Yom Kippur, a day on the Jewish calendar where observers ask for forgiveness and extend forgiveness for sins committed by intent or accident through prayer and fasting. Once the day is over, it is a new slate, an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and failures and not dwell on them again. All has been made new. It is time to move on.
I have many things I need to ask forgiveness for—holding onto something that wasn’t working for too long, neglecting to appreciate great opportunities that came my way, continuing to fuel anger that burned through me like a late summer wildfire—and this is the season to let these things go.This is a season for gradual change. It is a time to hope and wait for things to be made new.