Falling for the Fall


Autumn is transcendent and prescient; I’ve felt and known this since my youth.

That was in Central California, where the summer lasts well into September, gradually and grudgingly giving way to the damp, dripping and darkening third of the year, grapevines waiting to lose their leaves so they can endure the pruning shear.

I’ve known it as we raised our children in eastern Montana, where the fall began even in August. Above my computer hangs a picture of a copse of cottonwoods during of one of those autumns: slanting sunlight piercing the clouds; Manichaean light and dark battling for dominance of a season too soon to slide into bitter chill.

I feel it now, here in the midwest: the slight shortening of daylight, the cheesewagons (school buses) laded with unwilling passengers slowing traffic to a crawl, the memory of burning leaves and the prospect of Friday football filling the soul with anticipation.

And above and around and within something else: something dark this way comes, something silent, something cool and empty and terrifying and final. Something that only an eternal rejuvenation can assuage. 

Both my father and my mother died late in the autumn. The promise of that eternal rejuvenation makes the autumn not a season of doom, but of hope.

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  1. Arahant Member

    James Hageman: the cheesewagons (school buses)

    I laughed. Never heard them called that before.

    • #1
  2. Juliana Member

    This is lovely. Thank you.

    • #2
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey

    Good job, James. Very nice. 

    • #3
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    A beautiful set of seasonal word pictures! Perhaps while waiting for the “cheese wagon” flashing lights to turn off, please mull ideas you might share within the loose framework of the theme. Maybe someone will answer with a photo essay, or seasonal music. Or share a few thoughts on the changing season.

    Later in the month, Oktoberfest reports would be appropriate?

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the September 2019 Group Writing Theme: “Autumn Colors.” There are plenty of dates available. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #4
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens

    This is how I feel about Fall. 

    In the deep south, we can have long and lovely falls. Too much hot air at the moment from Dorian, but we will get there.

    • #5
  6. tigerlily Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    James Hageman: the cheesewagons (school buses)

    I laughed. Never heard them called that before.

    Me neither.

    • #6

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