Autumn's Equilibrium


When you live in a place with four seasons, leaves are like traffic signals. In Spring, we get the green signal that encourages us to take off our clothes, and generally do things that seem imprudent in Winter's cold embrace. As the shades of green gather momentum during the Summer, we forget there was ever any other way to live. We become carefree inhabitants of a world of sandals, open windows, and warm evenings. Life is easy, and if things were ever any other way, we don't want to remember.

But one day there's a subtle difference. We try to ignore it at first, but it won't go away. A few leaves have gone to amber, and then more, until there's an entire tree bearing the insinuation of change. For some of us, this means it's time to draw the blinds over the window that frames the offending tree, focusing instead on the green masses that remain. It's time, also, to begin wearing socks under our sandals and sweatshirts or fleece over our t-shirts in the evenings. In this way, we refuse to acknowledge the inevitable; this is how we prolong the delusion of Summer.

Eventually, of course, even the most delusional among us are forced to admit that things are changing, and there's nothing we can do about it; the light will turn red, and we will be broadsided by the 80,000 pound semi of Winter. The amber signal has a purpose, and we ignore it at our peril. The more reasonable tack is to accept the change—frolic in it, even—and embrace the season that restores our equilibrium. It's tough to focus on the task at hand when all you really want is to be outdoors, preferably on vacation; but as the leaves turn to gold and the mercury begins to drop, the idea of being indoors becomes more attractive, and even positive. It's easier to get things done when our attention isn't being continually subverted by the greens of Summer. Now that Autumn is officially here, maybe things can get back to normal.


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