I fell in love with fall as a kid, when most of my days were spent on the back of a horse. September, October, and November were my favorite months of the year to ride, as the fall season brought with it a firm ground and cool air, both making conditions perfect for a sprint across an open field or a repeated go at a cross country course. It was in these moments, as I hung low over my horse's neck for speed, checks flushed with exertion and the slap of cold wind, that I came to notice even one more thing that I love about this time of year: the light.
It's the light that has remained with me, the one thing that gives me pause with its return every fall, every year. The first cast of the season thrown, turning everything gold in its wake, arrests my breath every single time.
In my 25 years, I have lived in the American Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Northwest. The telltale signs of fall have differed in every region, and in my nostalgic opinion, no place on earth will ever have contest against autumn in New England. The rain came too soon to wash away the fall colors in Michigan, the heat stayed too long to resemble any break of season in Arizona, and the trees are too scant to notice any change in California's San Francisco.
The only constant tie between each place has been the light. Many a time, the fall light has been my saving grace when I'm feeling a bit displaced, when I'm feeling I've come too far from home. The way that it hits everything with a slant, dusts everything with a clean glimmer...it's my one reminder of time and place in a world and life that have begun to move too fast.
I welcome the fall light every year as a reminder to slow down. A reminder to look around. A reminder to get outside. And a reminder, most importantly of all, to be grateful, grateful for the fact that no matter where I am, or how I feel, there will always be something that gives me recognition, and with that recognition, peace.