The Olympic flame has been extinguished; the venues now empty and the athletes gone home.
The local pools, brimming over with laughter just days ago now sit silent and still.
School supply aisles are slowly dwindling, leaving the shelves exposed and bare, reminding us that the oak branches in the park will soon follow suit.
Children have reluctantly exchanged the playgrounds for the school grounds, and along with their teachers they have already begun the long countdown to Thanksgiving.
Craft stores have again been beautifully transformed from the typical summer fare into vibrant hues of harvest oranges and radiant golds.
And The Boys of Fall eagerly grasp for the baton as the Boys of Summer make their way around the glorious final lap.
Lazy Summer life begins to settle in to a routine.
And just like that, Autumn is upon us.
Autumn is a unique season. It symbolizes endings turned to beginnings. To me this Autumn is particularly unique, as it marks my oldest child starting high school, and my youngest leaving the preschool. Just two more examples of endings turned to beginnings. And so it goes. . .
But ready or not, Autumn has come! To be sure, today’s morning walk still doesn’t quite feel like an Autumn walk, but Autumn is so much more than just temperature. Close your eyes and breathe the not-quite-yet-Autumn air and you will sense it; barely detectable, but undeniably present. Because Autumn is a state of mind.
For many of us, the mercury still stubbornly clings to the ninety degree mark and refuses to accept the inevitable. Regardless, Autumn has always proven to be patient, and will graciously allow these last few balmy days of September to slowly dwindle away in their own time. And soon Autumn will allow the Winter season to drop in a little early. But Autumn is easygoing, and doesn’t seem to mind.
Autumn is campfires and college football, russet-lavender sunrises and flaming golden sunsets, cozy warm sweatshirts and cool evening breezes. Autumn is a familiar bird finding its way once again to your backyard, stopping for a moment on her way back to her annual vacation. Autumn is grey rainy afternoons, and fond memories of raking up leaves into tidy neat piles, just to jump in and spread them around the lawn again.
But above all, Autumn marks another chance at a new beginning. And for many of us a new beginning is just what we have been looking for.
Ready or Not, Autumn is here.