The most eloquent season of them all
Fall gets a bad rap. Maybe it is because there are so many negative connotations.
You can fall and get hurt.
Things fall apart.
We can fall in the rankings and be depressed.
Life can seem to be in free fall and it will make us feel out of sorts or out of control.
There is another way to consider the word.
Fall – the season – is the most eloquent of the four.
There have been some gorgeous fall days of late, and on one of them I sat briefly looking into a wooded area in which one tree's leaves had turned orange and red amid the other green ones. And I thought:
Unlike spring, which like the word implies, bursts upon us in a riot of color and energy, fall makes itself known slowly.
Fall is a subtle season. It whispers to us that this is the way things are going to be, so we should resign ourselves to it – and move with its imposed slower pace.
The energy of the outdoors is waning and soon the cold winds of November will blow us indoors or at least into heavy clothing.
Comparison of the seasons of the year to the seasons of human life is inevitable.
In the spring and summer of our time on this earth we don't think about our fall. There is so much growing to do, personally, professionally and in our relationships.
Fall seems dull and portending of a colder time.
But in the fall of one's life, the complete opposite of that earlier perception becomes apparent.
As I noted, fall the season arrives in a slower, subtler fashion and so does one's fall time of life.
Inasmuch as I am definitely in that season, I can say that one of the positive changes is that the vast dramas that play out in life are not as intense.
These things blow through and we can find ourselves using those words: “Really?” or “Seriously?”
Contrary to what we might expect, other aspects of life become even more intense: a kiss goodbye at the door, the movement of the sun throughout the day, the laughter of a child, the smiles on the faces of one's spouse, adult children or grandchildren. These are the colors of our lifetime fall.
My late father often sat at family gatherings, an unlit pipe in his hand, his legs crossed, his slight frame sinking into a chair and he watched. He would smile at the slightest of amusements. He kept a watch on all of us – his wife, his son, his grandchildren – not in a defensive posture, but one emanating from his love.
I can only aspire to do the same.
It is equally true that he could not hear as well in those days, but I can't help but think that he had tacitly concluded that hearing was not all it seemed. Life was felt and the senses just a supplement to that.
We have in our family a picture of my first daughter, Heather, in the backyard of her grandparents' home. She is wearing an adult-size knitted blue sweater that she liked to put on and she is blowing soap bubbles. Dad (Pop Pop to her) is seated on the milk box by the back door, ever-present pipe in hand, and is smiling at Heather. The picture says more directly what I am trying to convey in way too many words.
Fall is the wisest of the seasons, having absorbed all the changes since the prior winter and realizing the inevitable movement of things.
The thought reminds me of the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin singing: “All my life's circle; Sunrise and sundown; Moon rolls through the nighttime; ‘til the daybreak comes around.”
In another stanza, he sings: “I found you a thousand times; I guess you've done the same; But then we lose each other; It's like a children's game.”
I hope the late Mr. Chapin is right about that. Life, like the seasons, is certainly worth experiencing more than once.
Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via email to email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- Pitt sophomore Coles leaves football team
- Washington man, 70, charged after trooper pinned under car
- Freeport Bridge reopens, Route 356 traffic still affected
- Butler County day care center operator charged
- $4M floor project at Pittsburgh International Airport to replace drab gray, clickety-clack tile
- GOP: Wolf ‘Fresh Start’ campaign violates Pennsylvania law
- Records show Tomalis reported to work, key Pennsylvania senator says