Here, where I live, summer turned to fall overnight. I was awake unable to sleep when it happened: a definite moment, an unargued exchange of places, as seasons seemed to acknowledge each other, passing along the ever-watchful trail of time.
The first noticeable change was the air. I felt the settling in cozy shelter of a darker sort of darkness than the summer has, even in a mild season climate like this one. As a child I always referred to it as “fallfire and rain.” I knew it was autumn when the air began to take on a crisp, sharp scent of burning wood, regardless of whether there was a flame. The fire was in the reds of the crackling leaves, which kept their hint of scented green just below the brown smell of dust and dirt.
Growing up, I would wake on some day each year to find my room smelled of fallfire and rain. And so it was last night. The density of air around me shifted, and the smell filled my room suddenly and subtly. It carried with it a spacious, penumbral promise of possibility. Its mysterious potential, harbinger of shadows and the hidden light within them, covered me in soft safety.
For a moment, I wondered whether now I knew what the clay earth must feel, as it tucks itself in with a blanket of leaves. In sleeplessness, I began to imagine the rain that I hoped would follow, the drum of droplets on building and tree, dripping into many grateful leafy hands, oval palmed, stretched out for more, trickling near street curbs, dancing across the dried, dehydrated land.
I felt this morning how the new season already held its own; and sure enough, there was the rain, sprinkling cautiously at first, then coming down with greater commitment and resolve. It just needed to gather momentum and support from the clouds, which it had, at least for some hours.
The balance of light and dark has tipped again, sifting softly away from the vibrancy of the sun to a more quiet, subdued, peaceful muted light given off by changes and their reflection of a deep abiding silence just below the surface of daily activity. The spontaneous shouts of summer echo in the welcoming emptiness, already enfolding us in a vast expectant stillness, and the earth’s eyes turn inward, just waiting for the landscape and the hearts of the living to hush, enough that we might hear in the distance the dreams of the winter to come.