I detest fall. While its essence and appeal can be alluring—smoky dawn, cloudy light, merino sweaters—fall’s prelude signals rain, murky windshields, damp fur, and slippery tiles.
My hatred is unique—most people I know feel an excitement—they eagerly plow forward with plans for carving pumpkins and family gatherings. Kindergarteners line up like shiny new fish at bus stops. But I am gutted—instead of harvesting cucumbers and stellar lettuce from the garden—I retreat into dense hibernation. Fatty hams and thick soups conspire to shrink my jeans.
Fall is the demise of everything I cherish: a shovel unearthing deep minky wormy soils, sprouting greenhouse seedlings, plump heirloom tomatoes, juicy garlic in July, and fanning the flames from a hot wood-fired barbecue grill—bison steaks sizzling next to grilled peaches.
Fall is nothing more than a miscreant who steals my heart and all that matters. Ice forms on the cosmos, weeping skies dump sorrow in waves across the perennials, slug families (extended ones too) boldly set up housekeeping underneath mulch, spiders crawl side-legged into the bathroom–waving in glee when I squeal.
It’s nothing but death, this fall—any fall. I learn to die over and over again. It’s a repeat lesson: I deny its encroachment; sitting in a garden chair, freezing, huddling, watching the swallows leave for California. I anxiously check the last tomatoes, measuring cracks. I freeze pesto and bottle available sunshine. I nervously chatter, my poor spouse battered by conversations about the failing garden and the coming doom.
By October I am passive—I scrape the first crusts of ice, I dig for a glove, a matching pair of socks. I store flip-flops in the summer closet, drag out long pants—flannel nightgowns. I allow myself to be awed by pink fog, a harvest moon, red trees. The songs of geese sink well beneath my skin.
December’s showy face and its black mornings and nights dissolve. In February I’ll revel in a day of love and a seed catalogue. Maybe I’ll buy a new shovel or a new hoe. Small green tips of irises affirm that fall’s brief death has been officially mourned. And I have been redeemed.
Causes Madeline MacGregor Supports