Mid September and fall announced an early arrival with an audible hiss through late summer branches. The weather changed. I sit curled up into a letter C on my not so new couch, listening to the wind do its worst as it sends splatter after splatter of rain against the window panes. New Jersey in the fall. You can actually taste it in the air. When I was little, it tasted like a goodbye and a hello all rolled into one - like an end of summer song. It tasted of back to school clothing, lunches packed neatly in colorful metal boxes and Halloween candy. Fall. My birthday is in the fall. It was always kind of a double whammy. I 'd look forward to my birthday, but with it came school and a goodbye to lazy summer. Shifting on the couch , I reach down and drag an old worn afghan over my legs and close my eyes. Not to sleep. For some reason I can't sleep, though I know I'm tired. Thoughts swirl round in my head. some innocuous, some stinging. The ones that sting carry a "you should have ...(fill in appropriate chore)" with them. When I was little...it was just about homework. Now? It's about everything. Now, fall just tastes like goodbye.
Change is what fall is all about. Moving on, we leave pleasant summer memories behind and step into the uncertainty of a September wind. We never really feel secure or safe. There is no safety when you are an adult. If you fall, you have to hold out your own arms and catch yourself. If you also have children, like I do, you have to catch them too. My house is a safe little nest. It is a shelter against that storm spitting rain against the windows. My house is also a stinging thought. A reminder of how tenuous my hold is and how far down I can fall. This is my family's shelter. Their only shelter. And September's wind is just beyond these walls. My thoughts drift back to my parents. How my mother must have felt hearing the September wind, while shopping for my new school shoes. How my father must have felt hearing the September wind while he balanced the check book. I would like to say that I wish I'd known, so that I could appreciate what they might have felt, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad my own children don't. Children should think about running through piles of crisp leaves or sneaking into the Halloween candy stash. They should never know the fear of fall...of falling.