Happy New Year! [a reflection on fall]


[Chattanooga, TN - 1st Anniversary Trip 2011]

Fall makes me feel like all is well in the world. Like nothing bad could happen today, because it is 65 degrees and clouds are nowhere to be seen. Even though, of course, those things are not actually true.

The sun starts to descend late in the afternoon, and the shadows it casts between the buildings tell me it's fall even if I'm looking at it from behind glass at my desk 12 floors high.

Somehow fall is nostalgic and refreshing all at the same time. I've found that many other people feel the same way.

I wonder if this is because it takes us back to the first day of school--new pencils, new teacher, a fresh start. You can be anyone you want to be. Because you, my friend, are in SIXTH grade now. Nothing that happened in fifth grade matters anymore. A whole 90 days of summer separates you from the person you were then. Plus, you get to see your friends every day again.

Fall also means the holidays are right around the corner, and I love any reason to theme something. Even celebrating with themed activities and decorations is nostalgic. Carving pumpkins for halloween, eating turkey at Thanksgiving, seeing Christmas lights up for the first time...it all reminds me of childhood and joy.

All these things make me wonder if January 1st is really the New Year at all.

I rarely feel any different on January 1 than I did on December 31. Chances are, I'm not even in Nashville, and it feels like I'm somehow removed from everyday life anyway. When I go back to Nashville, it's back to the grind. Gray skies and winter coats. Not very refreshing.

But when that first crisp day sneaks up on me--I feel different. My shoulders relax. I literally breathe it in deeply just to experience it fully. Air smells so good in the fall, am I right?

I get to break out my boots for the first time. I get to wear scarves again. I get to lounge around and watch Auburn games and eat chips and salsa on Saturdays.

But more than that, I feel renewed. Like this is a restart. A new school year. A breath of fresh air to get me through the winter.

So I maintain that The First Day of Fall is really the start of the New Year. Maybe not for the calendar, but for our souls.

Today you can make decisions to change your life, not because you begrudgingly feel like you have to because it is January 1, but because you want a do-over. Or you want a start-for-the-first-time.

So Happy New Year, everybody! Fall is here.


What's your favorite part about fall?