Just like that, it seems fall has arrived. We still have beautiful warm afternoons, flowers blooming and gardens bursting, and the promise of at least another month of hiking in the mountains, sunsets on the beach, and grilling in the backyard. But there's no mistaking the days have gotten shorter. The air is cooler in the morning, the fog lingers, and the sky has turned that unique shade of blue. And the sadness that comes creeping in each September is also here.
Fall has always been my favorite season, not just because of the changing leaves and the way the sun sparkles on the water in the afternoons, but precisely because of the sadness.
There’s something in the sound of foghorns in the morning and the soft golden light in the evenings that gives us permission to be wistful. I’m not sure if it’s regret for the summer fading and the list of things undone, or back to school memories that remind us that childhood is another year further in the past. Maybe it’s the knowledge that these beautiful fall days are so ephemeral— that the rain is coming again and we’ll be back inside for another long, dark winter.
Whatever it is, there’s a part of me that embraces the bittersweet nature of September, the same way I appreciate a poignant book and relish a good cry at a sad movie. I think it’s important to practice being sad—just a little, here and there—in order to know that we can endure sadness, and to know that happiness comes around again.
I think many of us feel particularly somber this year. So many of our summer highlights didn’t exist, back-to-school looks different than ever before, and the impending winter means that what little socializing we’ve been able to do safely outdoors is also coming to a close. It’s no wonder there’s a collective sadness among us.
But September gives us the opportunity to grieve and also be grateful. As we mourn the loss of summer, we’re also enveloped in the loveliness of autumn— the sound of geese winging south, the display of leaves turning, and the sunsets that go on forever. I’m leaning into the exquisite sadness of September, and it couldn’t be more gratifying.