There is something magical about the changing of the seasons that cannot be explained with words, and that’s especially true about autumn. It is a season where you don’t need to check a calendar to know when it starts. You can feel it in your bones and deep inside your brain where mysterious things happen.
We aren’t as closely attuned to nature as we were thousands of years ago when people took to the forest to collect nuts and roots that could be dried and preserved for the winter months, but the mysterious urges from nature are still there. We find ourselves restless with vague longings that affect our work and our social life. While I wouldn’t mention this to a dedicated football fan, I suspect that one of the reasons we squeeze ourselves into a crowded football stadium has something to do with primitive urges to flock together. Mammals drum their feet and howl into the air when autumn arrives, very much in the way we cheer and gibber when the home team scores a touchdown.
If you want to get technical, autumn begins when the autumnal equinox occurs on or around September 20th. This is when the plane of the equator passes the center of the Sun, and the earth and Sun are not tilted either way. The days have become shorter since the first day of summer, but we scarcely notice the first cool mornings and aren’t aware of the birds as they slip away to find a haven further south. When Labor Day rolls around, we store our grills, our recreational equipment and our summer clothes, even though the best weather for outdoor activities is still ahead of us. From a logical standpoint, it makes no sense, but we are mammals and we react strangely along with the rest of them.
Whenever I visit our local park, which is located on the river, I sense some changes. A week ago I counted 102 geese wandering about hoping for a handout at a picnic table. Then, suddenly, they are gone as if by magic. While the mammals in my area don’t migrate, they do become restless along with the rest of us. I jog through the park early in the morning and glimpse furry creatures peeking from behind trees and from culverts. The rest of the year they seem too busy to notice me. Toward the end of September, they seem indecisive as if something is calling them. I feel it too, and I find myself watching the sky and wondering if I would not be better off somewhere else. I think I will collect a snack from the kitchen and something cold to drink and go and sit on a rock in the shade of a tree. Something is calling to me, and I feel the need to listen . . .