Fall is here, and I admit that I have mixed feelings about its arrival.
Many people say fall is their favorite season and why not? The days cool down, the trees change colors, the air feels crisp and sometimes carries the aroma of burning leaves. Of course, where I live in Arizona, I need to drive for a couple of hours to see the changing leaf colors. A small price to pay.
A hike in the woods brings back memories of growing up in Iowa and the distinct autumn smell of the woods. The woodland creatures are busy storing food for the winter. Geese fly south overhead, and I get the urge to buy a new sweater.
I love the sights and smells of fall plus my favorite sport – football – finally arrives. I have so many happy memories wrapped around high school football and the marching band. There were nights so cold that I wore two layers of clothes under my band uniform and still froze. My fingers could barely find the keys of my piccolo. They were so cold. I attended every home football game in college and was a season ticket holder for the Arizona Cardinals for a few years. Now I just watch TV. Not quite the same – and I miss the bands!!!
Despite the beauty and happy memories, I feel melancholy in the fall. I am sad and almost dread the shortening of days. Why? The only explanation that makes sense to me is that fall means that winter is not far away. I could understand if I still lived in snow country, but I live in the Valley of the Sun and have for over 30 years.
Winter is the best time in my part of the world! You would think that my feelings about fall would have changed years ago, but no. I still feel sadness and almost dread as fall approaches. As an adult, I understand my feelings and can consciously change my attitude.
My parents died when I was in my 30s. They are buried in Iowa, and I live in Arizona, so I do not have the opportunity to visit their graves often. On one of my rare visits to Iowa, I decided to make a side trip to the town in which they are buried. The day was gloomy, cold, and a misty rain started falling as I searched the cemetery. I eventually found their spot, grabbed my umbrella, and stood by their graves to pay my respects.
At first, I was sad, then I felt a warmth envelope me, and I started to smile! Why the change? As I analyzed my feelings, I remembered a scolding I got from my parents when I was in second or third grade.
They were very unhappy and disappointed with my behavior, and I carried that feeling with me as I grew up. I realized as I stood by their graves, that they were not unhappy and, in fact, were proud of me and my accomplishments. I carried the feeling of their disappointment for years and it was time to let it go.
That makes me wonder about other feelings I may be holding onto from my youth. Do I have prejudices or negative perceptions about people or places or events that I have outgrown or need to leave in the past because they don’t make sense anymore? It is a choice each of us must make.
Perhaps fall is a good time to undertake a house cleaning of a different type. It would certainly make the holidays lighter and brighter!
What outdated beliefs or feelings do you hold, or have you held? How did you discover them? Do you have suggestions to help others overcome outdated beliefs? Have you been successful in changing your mindset? What do you love most about fall? What don’t you love about it?