I think it's safe to say that many people welcome the arrival of Fall like a tall, cold drink of water after a long, hot summer. It starts with the night air that is just a little cooler requiring a blanket to be brought out from the closet. Soon, the colors of the leaves change, beckoning us to get outside one last time before Old Man Winter arrives at my doorstep (and usually overstays his welcome).
It's that beckoning of the changing colors of the leaves and trees that serve as one of the most telling signs that my favorite season is here.
Growing up in the western US mountains (and later living across the US) the red, orange, and yellow hues that would slowly dot the hillsides before exploding across the horizons were always a sign that a new year was beginning and ending, all at once. On one hand, the calendar year was ending. On the other, a new year of school - or football season, ski season, and holiday season - was just starting. While January was when the calendar of the world would turn over, my internal calendar always turned over during a mystery week that was sometimes in September, sometimes in October; but was always timely.
Later, as I made my life in New York City, the concrete jungle disguised that cherished memory and feeling of my youth. Getting out of the city is hard. Period. Make no mistake: being in the "burbs" or some other place provides an easier path to "get out and enjoy nature," as my mother used to say. Sure, there's Central Park. But, it's still a manufactured sentiment at best.
Finding the emotional conversation that would always tell my soul that a new chapter was here, and my favorite season was arriving, became harder and harder to recognize with each passing year. However this year, due to a number of challenges, Fall is once again my most welcome guest.
So naturally, this year I wanted to find the signs: the colors, scenes, textures, and feelings that have always been a part of Fall's Arrival.
As it turns out, I didn't have to look very far - or very hard. I just had to change my perspective. I didn't need to go to mountains, or take a long drive. I just had to create a space that was all mine.
With a camera, an iPod with a "Finding Fall" playlist, and headphones to transport my mind and spirit - I set out on a search to find the hints that Fall was here and that my new emotional calendar was ready to begin.
What I discovered is that my favorite season was just a little hidden. One of the places where it resides in this concrete jungle is in the local farmers' markets, the new High Line park, and the weekend street fairs. The pictures I took represent the colors, textures, and scenes that always strike a chord with my imagination about what the season "is."
PS. The arrival of Football - College and the NFL - is one of my most favorite signals. My most favorite, is my anniversary. :)