Autumn ushers in a special time of year. Holidays cluster together. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years bump into each other in kaleidoscopic fashion. The savor of cool days and blanket-warming nights builds a zest for positive change.
Change. Things hoped for are made new by change. Not only spring but autumn, too, transforms our days.
Recollections of autumns past run unchecked as summer’s heat subsides before winter’s impending gloom. The sights and sounds and smells elicit musings receding back to childhood. Apple picking, jelly making, harvests of all sorts trump the reminiscences of other seasons. I love it.
A geographical repertoire creates a smorgasbord of memories. North Dakota’s autumns may produce extremes. Cold and snow interweave with warm and pleasant days. Sleet on Labor Day, temperatures ranging in the 50s and 60s in October, rain on Thanksgiving Day makes par for the course.
Washington state telegraphs its weather to North Dakota. If winds blow cold in Washington, they’ll gust frigid in North Dakota two days later. If Washington’s days are warm and sunny, so too will be North Dakota‘s in a couple of days. It’s just a matter of time. Predictable.
Colorado gold yields riches for the eye. Splashes of yellow aspen against black mountains in the crisp autumn air incite a riot for the senses. Couple this with the bugle calls of elk to create scenes unrivaled. Soon enough, the early, icy winds will bury the autumn gold beneath the snows of a long, silent winter.
Texas autumn arrives late wrestling cooler days from the grip of summer‘s heat. In due course, the daytime temperatures drop from the 80s to the 70s and eventually to the 60s. Occasional showers drop the evening temperatures even lower. Forty degrees is considered a bone-chilling cold snap. Still, Halloween’s costumed kids may yet trick or treat without overcoats.
East coast autumns, as well, bring respite from heat and humidity. Unfortunately they also bring their share of nor’easters and hurricanes.
Most unusual is this year’s hurricane Sandy slamming into the East Coast. The confluence of a hurricane from the southeastern Atlantic with a freezing cold front moving east from the plains generates the worst storm in a hundred years. Most leaves and some trees will be gone before Sandy departs. It is not the sort of memory to have and to hold.
Autumns in other temperate zones overseas yield their own special nostalgia. Childhood spent in Japan resurrects autumn memories in a different context. Adult years in Germany, too, generate their own special reflections.
I’ve experienced them all.
Something else happens in the fall of the year.
A presidential election accompanies autumn every four years. Typically the partisan bickering is just that -- partisan bickering. Slight changes and tweakings discernable within this partisan context is annoying but tolerable.
What changes propel this new season? This autumn nothing less than a fundamental shift away from the foundational principles underlying our concepts of freedom and democracy is at stake.
Ronald Reagan famously declared during his successful re-election bid for a second presidential term, “It’s morning again in America.”
Barack Hussein Obama can make no such claim. What policies or initiatives from Obama’s last 3½ years should be continued for another 4 years? Obama’s re-election will impose a chilling effect squelching freedom’s blessings and autumn‘s joy and any hope for a better America.