Enjoy autumn’s interlude before winter’s chilly grasp

October 22, 2017

Autumn carries romantic images for many of us, at least through the Indian summer season. In fact, many feel it is their favorite time of the year; warm days and cool evenings entice us into a sort of complacency. We've grown through the years to appreciate Frank Sinatra's voice crooning those lyrics, "The falling leaves drift by my window ... the autumn leaves of red and gold."

Autumn is a time to re-examine things that we get caught up in; the minutiae of our daily lives often overwhelm the moment and the big picture. The season deserves a closer look at simplicity.

Not long ago, I was driving along a rural road in a nearby state. I was on my way to a local nursery and had traveled this route many times. The black asphalt pavement met a vast field that overflowed for miles, creating a smooth pattern and transition. The field was overcome with wildflowers, random weeds and tall, swaying grasses. From a distance, it looked like a quilt. I had passed it many times when I visited the area.

But on this day, with the autumn stripping the ambiance bare, I noticed something that had never caught my eye before. Standing high, right in the middle of this field, was a chair. It was made of wood and looked weathered and worn. It had no arms, just a spindled back with empty spaces in between. Without the crop that had grown this summer to conceal it, the chair was a dichotomy of wacky and rational. How did it get there, and what purpose did it serve? Did anyone ever sit on it, and why would you have this piece of furniture in the middle of a field?

It makes you wonder. And it occurs to you the more you question it that perhaps sometimes there are no answers. It just is. That's the thing about life you have to accept, and a solitary thought may bring you around to seeing a simple item, and it might make you believe it's just every day that counts.

It doesn't have to be a chair. It could be a red balloon that escaped and is flying high in the sky. No one is around to claim it. The balloon just soars and bounces across the horizon, But where did it come from, and how did it find this new freedom? Will it carry itself over the ocean and then just plummet, or will it keep on going? Your eye watches it until it disappears out of sight and out of mind. But just for a moment, you took yourself out of your own routine to smile and appreciate the flow and the windswept red balloon. How great is that? No questions, no answers, just an existence.

I see clothes hanging on a line outside a house on those rural back roads. You can almost smell the fresh air clinging around the material. The bareness of autumn allows that image to protrude through the scenery you once sped past without a backward glance. The simplicity of autumn brings old-fashioned remembrances filtering back through your mind. For autumn has no pretenses, no fake ambitions. Its cousin winter is just around the corner, but autumn will let you enjoy some diffused color, some sun and some questions without answers.

Not to be maudlin, but often we need to slow down, take stock of whatever is around and yes, count our blessings. Now is the perfect time. In life, very often there are no obvious answers. So let those autumn leaves fall and drift by your window.


  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.