My husband, Peter, says they are rushing the season.
I’m not sure who “they” are. The Christmas Cartel, perhaps. The vast conspiracy of premature holiday merrymakers. Whoever they are, Peter does not approve.
And he does have a point. There are still life-size skeletons scaling the walls of a huge brick house I walk by every day. The remains of jack-o’-lanterns are still sitting on the stoops—although the squirrels have eaten off most of their faces, making them much scarier than they were to begin with.
“What are you doing?” I ask a gray squirrel, caught in the act.
“What do you care?” she answers, cheeks full of pumpkin. “It’s almost Thanksgiving.”
“Thanksgiving is a month away!”
Meanwhile, the first red and green lights have appeared, Holiday Festival posters are springing up in the lawns, and I have already found myself humming snatches of Christmas tunes that I picked up from an open shop door.
Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all pile on top of one another in a way that Peter finds annoying. I am more open-minded. It’s a confusing time of year, after all.
My mother tells me that, up north, the adult loons have all migrated, leaving their children behind. Apparently, young loons are not old enough to make the flight, and so they are left behind for a few weeks to mature and figure things out on their own. I expect a new parenting style, “Loon Parenting,” to become all the rage sometime in the very near future.
The young loons are left by themselves, looking a little bewildered and forlorn. Although I might be imagining that part. Perhaps they are relieved the older loons have finally left them in peace. “Yes, Mom, I can make it to the Gulf of Mexico without your help!” (eye-roll)
How would I know?
At any rate, they are left behind in this, the most unpredictable time of the year, when it feels like summer one day and requires a puff jacket and mittens the next. I can understand why people might just throw up their hands, let the squirrel finish off the jack-o’-lantern, start making pumpkin pie and play Christmas songs.
I always feel restless this time of year. I see those older loons—and older humans—heading south, leaving the younger loons and younger humans behind, and I understand the need for motion. Fall is a time of change, and a lot of those changes happen fast.
The wind picks up, and it doesn’t feel like it’s from around here. It feels like it has come from somewhere far away. It offers the suggestion of new surroundings, new emotions, new experiences. Every day, I walk through the piles of leaves and wonder what this fall will bring, what that new wind is carrying with it. I remember myself as a younger human, watching the birds overhead flying south, and wondering where they were going and why I wasn’t going with them.
Peter and I, now being older humans, will be heading south in a little while. Peter is working on his packing list. I am, too—but only in my head.
I’m packing up new ideas and things I’d like to do and putting them in my carry-on so I can pull them out in an instant. I’m putting into storage some of the judgments and opinions I’ve been hanging onto for too long. I’m imagining how it would feel to be as bright and fearless as the maple tree in the autumn of its life.
Peter would probably say I’m rushing the season.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon is a freelance writer and author and lives in New Mexico. Her columns appear each week.