It is a time to say goodbye.
It is an occasion to offer hello.
It is our season of change, and today it comes as the most splendid of changes. It is the Autumnal Equinox which is just a fancy way of saying it is the first day of fall.
In past editorials, our newspaper has described autumn as our “Hallelujah Season.” It seemed an apt description then. Nothing has changed since. It is again a cherished moment and we cheer its afternoon arrival.
For lovers of science, the Autumnal Equinox is defined as, “The word equinox comes from the Latin words for ‘equal night.’ The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the sun crosses the celestial equator. From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights.”
Science has its rightful place among our seasons of the year. But we prefer another explanation of this gradual fade from a world of green to a rainbow of pastels. It comes from poet Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt who writes, “It is the summer’s great last heat; it is the fall’s first chill: They meet.”
Simple ... to the point ... and so very eloquent.
Autumn’s graceful arrival, at least this year, does not come as a rescue from the traditionally oppressive heat and humidity of a long and tiring summer. If anything, the past few months have served as a mild — and wet — reminder of what most summer seasons are not. We have perspired, but we have not been drained. We have worked and played and frolicked in the outdoors, but our level of endurance has not wilted.
Assuredly, the testy Dog Days of our late summer arrived on cue, albeit quite briefly, but even they could not take our breath away in the traditionally sultry August nights and searing September days of the cozy Southeast.
With a smile, this long-awaited change of seasons reminds us of a telephone call from a loyal reader received about this time last year ... just a few days later ... who took us to task lightheartedly for failing to acknowledge the first day of autumn on the Editorial Page. We did it the year before, she told us, and she was disappointed that we had not done it then.
To avoid the repeat of any such oversight in 2013, let us revisit some of the editorial we published in the edition dated Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. It served as our welcome to autumn. At heart, it is just as blissfully relevant two years later.
It goes something like this:
We have weathered the heat.
We have struggled through the drought.
We have perspired through our shirts, wiped buckets of sweat from our brows and delayed anything outdoors for the greater comfort of air-conditioned spaces.
It has been hot. It has been dry. It has been miserable.
And now it is gone.
Autumn has arrived and brings with it more than just the word.
Autumn ushers in mild days, brisk nights and invigorating morns.
Autumn opens heavy canopies of summer shade through showers of colorful leaflets spiraling to the inviting bosom of Mother Earth.
Autumn awakens the senses, lightens the spirit and tickles the imagination.
Autumn guides restless feet along winding wooded trails curiously layered in vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange.
Autumn arouses the appetite with scintillating aromas of fresh-baked pies, backyard barbecues and buttered popcorn bouncing up and down and to and fro within glass casings near storefront windows.
Autumn breathes life with country fairs, arts and crafts, straw bales decorated in potted mums of vivid color and family festivals at every turn.
Autumn breaks out the rakes and rakes in tempting mounds of browned leaves whose afternoon mass is best measured in child’s play and playful smiles.
Autumn is outdoor football, tailgating in crowded lots and unchained laughter heard near and far.
Autumn is an afternoon picnic in a slow and lonely park, a quiet walk along a bubbly stream, and pensive moods and knowing stares.
Autumn is crisp air, light moods and unseen smiles.
Autumn is faded blue jeans, oversized sweatshirts and stringy toboggans from a forgotten day.
Autumn is love unconditional, one best treasured in years together and lives shared.
Autumn is dancing eyes, soft hearts and a warm embrace.
Autumn is a way of life, a lifestyle of the spirit and a peace of mind.
Like all seasons, autumn is what we make it.
Let us make this one magnificent.
May each and all enjoy this rainbow ride to our pot of gold.
All have earned it.
And each deserves it.
Now shall we reap our just reward.