Thursday, October 2, 2008

I've Got A Fever...

I find that no sooner have I turned around from buying school supplies, I am falling down the slippery slope towards Season Fever.I don't know what it is about the finality of the summer dying to the start of term de academia, but it births in me this intense, frenzied, and somewhat ecstatic fervor.

I have what can only be described, as I have mentioned, as Season Fever. I am sick with the need to experience change, and to experience it in as many ways as possible. Now that summer is gone, I want to breathe, touch, taste, see, and smell things that are covered in pumpkins, apples, and frosted lightly with a cool breeze.

When August is lifted from the calendar and September's picture debuts, I run to look out the window. I try to turn the leaves red and brown with my mind's eye, unable to wait for the real thing. Halloween costumes make their garish appearances in the Target aisles, and seasonal fragrances just barely start to waft their cinnamon puffs of smoke towards my nose. I wait...not patiently, but expectantly. I suppress the joy flooding my sunburned soul that a new day approaches.

Yesterday was the first day of October. As if the world just knew that I needed it, I awoke to cooler weather. It was not cold enough to wear closed-toed shoes, but it rarely is that cold unless one is standing in a bucket of ice cream in Siberia. No, not cold. It isn't time for cold yet. But it was cool and comforting, like a mother's hand on a warm brow. It whispered in its unassuming way that the parched, cracked time of summer was giving way to the rest and peace of the autumn.

I walked outside yesterday, my hands full of bags and books and lunchboxes. My Favorite Tree was lightly laying down some of her leaves, and if my hair didn't weight 13 pounds it would have been lifted in the breeze. And for some reason, it felt like all would be well. I will make pumpkin bread and apple cider, I will light all of the warm, homey scented candles I own (one) and plan some Halloween activities. And It.Feels.So.Good.

I don't know why Season Fever hits me the way it does. I was previously under the impression that my contraction of Season Fever was a newer development owing to circumstances. I lived in Phoenix for awhile, and while that city certainly has merits, it does not have the traditional season changes that I experienced as a child. Upon my return to the verdant hills of the Volunteer State, I positively reveled in the familiarity of pumpkin farms, being able to safely Trick-or-Treat because you actually know your neighbors, and wearing a long-sleeved shirt the whole day without sweating. It was glorious, and I attributed it to the Valley of the Sun's inability to have season changes. Yes, that was surely it.

But now I'm not so sure. I think that I started needing these seasonal changes when I myself stopped changing. Now, don't go thinking that I'm not learning new pieces of information every day. In fact, I learned yesterday that Catherine de Medici and her arch-nemeses, Diane de Poitiers, were cousins! But the big changes of life, the big underlined bolded headlines of our years that say I FINALLY GOT MARRIED!!!! or WE HAD OUR 3RD CHILD!!!! or I STREAKED DURING HALFTIME AT VANDY!!!...those changes aren't as visible as I add numbers to my age.

What I'm trying (albeit poorly) to convey is that my life seems more stable/stagnant than in years past, and I need the changes of the seasons to mark something in my life. Without the respite of the cinnamon season of fall, how else would I know that time is indeed still marching on? I take stock at birthdays, of course. I marvel at how quickly years go by, even as they drag. But once a year isn't enough for me, because I get utterly bogged down by the monotony of packing stick pretzels in plastic bags for snack time. I despair after awhile if nothing in my life is moving, changing, growing. Austin will not be surprised to hear it, as he comes home frequently enough to find that I have changed the location of the couch, the bed, or his socks.

I'm not quite sure what this says about me, because I can find both positive and negative connotations about a person that needs change as much as I do. But I figure that if I'm just over-excited at the appearance of All Things Pumpkin, it is emotionally healthier than, say, changing my legal name or hair color every few weeks. Not that I haven't done these things before, but Star Scott and pink hair are now safely behind me in the past where they belong.

Not to sound cheesy (though I know it does) but the change of summer to fall feels like an absolute gift. It is almost as if I'm being told that life keeps going, and I'm just a small part of it. My ancestors and my descendants will know the spring flowers (unless they live in Siberia) and winter snow (unless they live in Phoenix) and they won't remember that I packed pretzels for snack.

Because life isn't about pretzels. Or diapers or answering phones or figuring out how to make meatballs without touching raw beef. And though life isn't about the fall or winter, celebrating the same gives my life some much needed sparkle.

Change should happen, and it does so even if I fail to see it. Phoenix does indeed have changing seasons; they are just different. Perhaps I haven't taken the time to really get used to the way life changes as we age. Some of my "headline moments" are already gone, but hopefully that doesn't mean that I'm doomed to a life of endless summer.

Happy Fall, one and all.

If your days go by alarmingly fast and you are still packing pretzels that get hidden under carseats, take heart.

The change of season is now here, opening her leafy arms and bidding you to rest easy in the earthy change of autumn.

And until I get to go streaking at a Vandy game, that will have to settle my heart.

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