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Fall speaks of slowing down

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By Michael O'Hare
Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

As years go by I can't help but think of the fall season with renewed appreciation.

I always felt summer was my favorite season, whatever that means. I guess it reflects the sense that summer is less confining, one can take out the garage without putting on a coat, there are comfortable chairs on the porch and it is a good place to sit and watch the world go by, away from the TV that gives us the world with a surreal tinge.

Fall for a kid is school and maybe football games and dances and homework and new clothing that one compares to the new clothing of other students.

When we are older, long after school, fall means impending winter, a brief respite of cool and color followed by bleak and cold and tricky driving and the start of an endless number of holidays for which you have to do more than just turn on the grill.

So where does my appreciation come in? You might well ask.

Fall speaks to me of slowing down, as does the growth of the grass and all things that grow from the ground.

Fall is an honest season. Trees make a last gasp at beauty and then simply drop their leaves and all that pretense of being mighty.

This is really life, is it not?

We have had some pretty humid, summer-like days lately, and to be sure it is still a few weeks to the actual start of autumn, but soon enough the air will cool, dare we say chill?

We will put on sweaters and other cool weather apparel in the manner that we put on love. It is best layered about us, like the warmth of a loved one sitting near in silence. That is important in fall and in life.

Growing things and animals prepare for winter with built-in protections like thicker coats, a sleepy disposition and the like.

After all we do the same things. As we age we get colder easier. Sweaters are not just fashion statements. Naps are essential.

Fall is an great time for observing, yet it is the kind of observing that we keep to ourselves if we are older. Much as you would like people to understand what you are seeing you just sort of resign yourself to knowing they must learn for themselves. Fall, therefore, is a personal season.

In spring, we rush to get ready for summer, in summer we rush about to have fun as well as get outside work done.

But in fall, we work more slowly. Sure, we rake leaves and take in the outdoor furniture, but we don't do it with the sense of urgency we applied to jobs in the spring.

Watch, and you will know that day; the sun will be bright, but it won't have that searing edge to it that the previous days have had. You will know that we have turned that seasonal corner.

The colors of red and gold and yellow will seem appropriate, and why not buy that scented candle for the kitchen window sill.

Fall is a good season for meandering; like a river that once raged, we widen and slow down both in the fall of each year and in the fall of our lives. It just seems quite natural.

Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to

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