I am sure you noticed the sun’s daily path tracing an ever lower and shorter parabola across our day’s sky. We have now passed the recent equinox when the sun shone directly on the equator and equally on both hemispheres. Autumn has arrived in America. With it comes a wave of associated feelings that are sometimes in flux over our lifetime. While all the seasons smack of treasured memories and activities specific to the time of year, it is the fall that we prefer the most.
You may have guessed summer, but it’s only those Americans thirty-five and under who prefer summer when asked for their favorite quarter of a year. It just makes sense that summer’s freedom and warmth win over our youngest half. However, I perceive that our regard for the fall comparatively improves as we get longer in the tooth.
A recent survey (YouGovAmerica) touts autumn as our collective top choice! That poll, of course, includes the discerning citizens who are north of thirty-five. It’s apparent, as we age; a transformation of seasonal partiality takes place. So what do you suppose is behind this evolution of allegiance with autumn?
An easy answer may involve our culture’s “back to school” trepidation associated with the end of summer. Younger American’s have obviously let this cloud their best season choice. Remember during your youth when you realized endless summer was just a movie? Quite suddenly, the carefree days and nights of summer gave way to daylight savings time and, for me, hand–me-down sweaters. Worse yet, my parents were tied-in to the start of the school year. Dad taught and Mom tutored.
I recall the entire comfortable dynamic of the home shifting. I lamented older siblings leaving our lively home for distant colleges. The quiet emptiness was impactful. I found myself trying on bulky school clothes in department stores and cramming the final (okay all!) chapters of summer reading. An echoed warning of “no T.V. on school nights” rang throughout the final August days.
The new season of slow death in our modest garden harkened the stark reality of responsibilities and less fun until the holidays. So personally, I understand that in one’s formative years, school-related angst unfairly attaches itself to the approaching fall season. Fortunately for many of us, this stress ceases as we move beyond our formal education.
Yet lurking next, our scholastic lives change over to nascent work careers. The immunity from fall seriousness is short-lived. It must be through our early Thirties that autumn remains a time paired with expected productivity and little coasting. It just lodges in our young adult subconsciousness that fall equals a tougher more demanding schedule.
Farmers will tell you they work hardest during the harvest. In business, the vacations and the lax oversight of summer all fade away. Bosses direct salesmen to beat the bushes with a renewed purpose for sales and corporate projects have Christmas deadlines. The retail sector busies to gain higher year end numbers. Younger Americans must wonder if the annual grind paired with the year’s final months will ever end!
Seasoned now, we look forward to Homecoming at the same schools where a return once stirred worry. We mature to knowingly accept the structure implicit in fall. Once we truly resist pinning the unnerving start of the academic year’s regimen to fall. Once the daunting, expected effort at work isn’t mentally one with the progressively shorter evenings, we notice that September rules! We are so relieved; we’ll even ride on hay and try all things pumpkin!
To the youngest half of our population, I say- have patience with autumn, you’ll come around to fancy it best! I could have the turning point at 35 years old wrong. It’s only one survey, but it’s a tidy number. Inexplicably, I crave order this time of year.