While for many of you the leaves have just begun to change, here in Alaska we are deep in the throes of a stunningly beautiful autumn. Sometimes fall only lasts a few weeks here. The leaves begin to change and then we get a big wind storm that blows them off the trees and then, far too soon, it is all over. This year the leaves have turned a deeper and deeper yellow, sometimes arriving at a glowing orange and much to our delight they have remained solidly attached. Sometimes I find myself holding my breath wondering just how much longer we will be allowed to enjoy such wonder.
There are many reasons to love fall. The crisp smell of fall air mingled with an occasional scent of a woodfire burning. The beauty of yellows and reds replacing the green of summer. The harvest reaped and stored for another year. Harvest time in Alaska means that your salmon is canned or put in the freezer, moose or caribou has been hunted and processed and your berries picked and made into jam or frozen for winter morning pancakes.
But the main reason that I love fall is that it leads to….winter! Fall, for me, is like Advent. It is a waiting, a preparation for the long winter. The trees will soon be bare of leaves but the snows will come to blanket them. The days will grow short indeed, only 5 hours long at winter solstice. The sounds all around me will be muffled by the snow and a quiet will descend upon my home, upon my spirit.
There is much to love in every season. I would not appreciate the depth of winter if it were not for the potent energy of an Alaskan summer. And fall is a beautiful gentle journey between the two, a tender transition.