Not deferential enough: Why fall should be banned

Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: Why fall should be banned

by Gina Hamilton

Turning Tide Cottage is slipping into a state of entropy, I have about sixteen tasks on my writer's to-do list, I could really use a lottery winning, and the farm is still demanding attention.

To be fair, I have been sick all week, and the whole family has had a lot of medical goings on while we are trying to get to The Root of Our Problems, some of which requires my presence, even if my own Root Cause isn't the one being addressed directly.

I'm not a big autumn fan anymore, let me say right now.  When I was a student ... oh, for those days again ... it was sort of the start of a new year, bright with promise, long before the first missed math homework assignments clouded the Dean's List horizon.  I usually made it anyway, but I still worried about it.  New blazers, new jumpers, new shoes, new school supplies, a new book bag, everything shiny.  Hard as it was to leave summer and family time  behind, there was something special about going back to school and reuniting with friends.   Everything that went along with it ... all the autumn smells, tastes, the nip in the air ... was all part of the package.

And somehow, having a kid in school helped me to carry that feeling along for many years, even if I wasn't teaching that particular fall (and often, I was). 

But that was before I had a little urban farm, before I had to worry about whether my house would fall down around my ears if I didn't take care of some significant chore, before I had livestock to worry about and a whole lot of stuff to compost. 

Now, it's possibly the busiest and least rewarding season of the year.  Summer is busy, of course, what with canning and pickling and all, but there are the immediate rewards of fresh tomatoes, warm off the vine, hidden strawberries and blueberries, the startling taste of fresh herbs in an evening meal.  Spring is busy, too, but there is the anticipation of all of the above and more, as well as the gorgeous flowers.  Winter is downtime, except for snow shoveling and animal chores, and the occasional bringing in of the wood pellets.  You could spend the whole day reading if you were so inclined. Plus, it has Christmas in it, which is always worth the wait.

But fall is unrelieved work, and all you get at the end is a sore back and the knowledge that winter is not far behind. 

And somehow, dirt and mud and leaves get tracked in, and the outside's issues become the inside's problems, too.

Maybe I'm just getting old, maybe I have never quite gotten over the fact that I can't afford live-in help, maybe the closer I get to retirement age I start dreaming of sun-bleached coastlines without seasons to speak of, forgetting that I wasn't all that fond of said seasonlessness when I had it at my fingertips.

But all I know is that fall ... especially late October and dreary November ... are the worst months of the year. This year, with all the rain, has been worse than usual. Maybe we should just ban them altogether.

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