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The magic of fall

A new season is coming — and it’s a fall enthusiast's dream

Fall is a reminder of how beautiful life can be, and how the beginning — or end — of a season of life doesn’t have to be scary or painful .
Fall is a reminder of how beautiful life can be, and how the beginning — or end — of a season of life doesn’t have to be scary or painful .

I swear, there comes a day every year when you wake up and suddenly it just feels like fall. It may be the brown-tinged leaves swirling across the sky just to be crunched by the shuffling feet of University students, or it’s the lingering smell of apple cider wafting from the local farmer’s market on Saturdays — or perhaps it’s simply the way the sun rises and covers Charlottesville with a warm blanket of orange hues. Regardless of what it is or how it happens, the welcoming embrace of fall is as comforting as the sounds of laughter in the streets soaking in the last few weeks before the whispering, chilly tendrils of fall’s wind freeze over into winter’s icy grip.

My fondest memories hail from past autumns. Nostalgia drips like sweet, fresh jam and honey from my recollection — moments from high school homecomings, Friday night football games, trips to the local farm with my friends, trying new recipes, starting new relationships, cheer competitions and diving under the covers while watching scary movies only scratch the surface of the memories that make my soul happy. 

Most people associate summer with serotonin — the smell of salt in the air and waves crashing on the beach, late night drives with the windows down and music blaring, days spent lounging in the sun with a book in hand. As someone who is Florida-born, I’m expected to feel the same — and don’t get me wrong, I do. However, sunshine and warmth do nothing to trump dusk and smoky bonfires, huddling to keep warm while contemplating life with your friends and laughing over everything that has happened and everything that will.

Then, I had my first fall away from home and everything changed. There were no more farm visits, baking, bonfires or homecomings, but instead unfathomable amounts of walking, midterms, labs — albeit there were still Halloween costumes, though with a college touch —  new friendships and Saturday games. I realized, though, that fall’s stability as a season throughout life’s change is the magic of fall — outside of messy, uneven pumpkin carvings and apple pies that fill your entire body with indescribable warmth, fall is consistent — even through all of the stressful moments of change you may personally endure. 

The world around you is ever-changing, a whirlwind that threatens on a regular basis to sweep you away with it. Fall, though, will always be the same. The leaves will always change their hue and descend from branches to roots, the temperatures will always gently ease into a mild chill, and Starbucks will always reintroduce their infamous pumpkin spice latte. 

PSL jokes aside, I mean to say that the autumn season will always be there to catch you when you “fall.” As the leaves change color, as are we meant to change with them. When life begins to weigh you down, I can speak from experience that the notion of yet another predictably incredible fall season filled with heartwarming moments of smiles and laughter is the only pick-me-up needed. 

Some of the hardest moments of my life are intertwined with the fall season — breakups, mental illness, adjusting to life at the University last year or even just trying — and failing — to catch up on schoolwork. However, looking back, the knife-sharp edges of those painful memories feel dull. The experiences brought about by those falls — sleepovers, homecoming, football games, Halloweens and exposure to new activities and environments — cast a shadow over the problems I faced and instead replaced them with feelings of pure joy. What I’m trying to say, is that the season has always reminded me that, even in the midst of hardship, there is so much to love, cherish and be grateful for each day, at every moment.

Fall is a reminder of how beautiful life can be, and how the beginning — or end — of a season of life doesn’t have to be scary or painful — it’s a gentle embrace and sweet whispered words of encouragement when we need it most.

There comes a day every year where you wake up and suddenly it just feels like fall — and that day is coming. I don’t know about you, but I am eagerly awaiting its arrival and what could be the best fall yet.


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