Learning to Love Autumn

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I’ve spent the better half of my life repulsed by autumn, and the other half learning to love it. Despite all of this, and, because of this, I believe in autumn.

Most of my classmates grew up imagining summertime to be the days filled with swimming pools and family vacations. I saw summer as my final hold out before packing my belongings and falling into the autumn months in a new town. Before I was five years old, I had already moved three times. My dad’s decision to attend Medical School called for a consistent pattern of moving.

The end of my 5th summer rolled up into my driveway in the image of a moving van. My young, family of four piled into the Toyota Tercel and drove. Fall greeted me in Wisconsin, 1,047 miles away from my old neighborhood in Colorado.

My time here past in shades of kindergarten romances and neighborhood get-togethers. During this time I had traded training wheels for soccer cleats, and became fond of the white house I called home on Clark Street. But summer soon demanded that the lightning bugs be put to rest. I saw my leaves changing as we turned the moving van back in the direction of Colorado, and rewound our steps.

Each move arrived in late August, and I began to cling to that month, as if holding on tight enough would keep me rooted in the place I was departing from. Year after year, the autumn leaves turned the color of hell, begging to be set free from their source. I was found kicking and screaming across the months of September to November, until my throat vibrated without sound. Winter would sooth my vocal cords and assure me I would redeem my leaves in the spring, but it was all too soon before the cycle repeated itself.

I had grown up with this rhythm of moving, and it always seemed to share the same cadence as the seasons. Perhaps I was too naive in thinking everyone must have greeted autumn with such bitter feelings. Because that’s all I could feel. And although I had moved nine times, the only lines drawn on the map went back and forth from Colorado to Wisconsin.

My leaves would break off my trunk in the shade of tears and rage as I watched August green turn to the brown, dying shades of fall.

I was losing myself to autumn’s finest weather.

So finally, I made peace. After 15 years, I looked at the aspen trees I had clung to at the end of each summer. I finally recognized that they too changed the color of their leaves. There was no constant in standing still. If I were to do that, I would become stagnant. I learned that I must go through the changing of colors to grow. I had just had it all backwards in my mind.

I believe in autumn. The season has taught me to accept the change that comes, embrace the vibrancy of adaptation, and live.

-Katie Snyder