Like so many of you, fellow Vixens, fall is my favorite time of year. It has been that way my whole life. The cooler temperatures, the leaves changing colors, the crunch of the fallen ones underfoot or jumping in a freshly raked pile of them, pumpkins, Halloween, fall festivals, apple picking and the smell of wood burning in fireplaces…..need I go on?
It started when I was a kid planning my costume and dreaming about how much yummy candy I would get on All Hallow’s Eve. I would also wonder how big that year’s pumpkin would be and how sweet it would smell with a candle in it to light up the carved face. Then when I was older I used to walk home from school in the fall after field hockey practice. At the beginning of the season, it was still hot thanks to Indian Summer so the mile I had to walk home in the heat was excruciating. But once October arrived, it not only got cooler but it would start to get dark by the time I was halfway home. Then the walk was glorious.
I smelled the fireplaces that were needed to get the chill out of houses. I listened to the leaves crunching under my feet. I admired the many different carved pumpkins on display on front porches or in big picture windows. I adored the way the cool crisp air touched my cheeks like sweet tender caresses. I studied the changing hues of the sky as the sun set and the moon emerged. And I marveled at the beauty and wonder of this spectacular time of year.
As I walked towards the door of my house, I could see the warmth of the lights welcoming home. As sad as I was that my evening reverie was over, I was happy to be home. Things were far from perfect, but I could count on several things: that a hearty plate of dinner was waiting for me in the oven, courtesy of my dear sweet grandmother; that I would get to kiss, hug, cuddle and play with my little brother; that after I ate and did my chores, I could listen to my Bruce Springsteen records and that my dad would watch TV with us every night.
A lot of life has happened to me in the fall, some good, some bad and some heartbreaking. But through all of it, autumn is simply astonishing in its loveliness year after year.
The first day of fall is also special to me because it is Bruce Springsteen’s birthday. The first time I bought one of his records (Born To Run) was in the fall following the worst summer of my life-the one in which my mother died leaving her 12 year old daughter and the rest of her family behind. The world had become so dark I forgot what light was like. But one listen to Springsteen’s album and suddenly all that changed.
In that moment, fall had a new color. It was so exquisite and bright I never quite saw things the same way again. That color gave me back a glimpse of hope that maybe I could look forward to a future, one where happily ever after did not end in a horribly final way…..where I did not end up like my father and lose the love of my life at the age of 36.
I love Bruce Springsteen for many things, but giving me back my hope is the biggest reason why. It is a debt I will never be able to repay. The mantra of my life, even after all these years, is from “Thunder Road”: ” What else can we do now except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair.”. Those words carry me through my life.
Thank you, Boss Man. Happy Birthday & Happy Fall.
Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging and Happy Fall!!!