I always think of autumn as three different stages of a season. September is summer grafted to fall, with traces of summer amid the harvest and trees taking on a yellow tinge.
October is the “party and confetti” part of autumn, bright and brilliant, colors raining down around us, an air of celebration in the air.
That part of autumn is gone. The lingering goblins on porch posts annoy rather than frighten, the improvised ghosts just limp, tattered, graying sheets strung on bare limbs. Garbage cans on the curb are topped with jack-o-lanterns whose faces have withered into quizzical stares, mouths puckered inward like old men who can’t find their dentures.
We’re in the final stage of autumn, the cozy stage of beef stew and knitted socks (even though it’s been balmy recently). This is the crunchy time of dead leaves and dried husks, softly lit by beeswax candles and fire glow, meditative as we approach Thanksgiving, before a new celebration ignites and a different festival begins. I used to hate November upon a time, but in middle age I’ve grown to appreciate it very much.