After an unseasonably warm past two weeks in Omaha, a respite from the heat is greatly welcomed. I am happy to report that yesterday, I felt the first wisps of fall in the air.
It was magnificent.
I went for a
run walk after class, and as I was running strolling the streets of my neighborhood, I could feel fall hiding in the shade of tall trees and the drone of lawn mowers. As I was looking at the adorable houses, envisioning their insides and inhabitants, with the sun on my face and the clear blue sky above, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and contentment. I yanked the headphones out of my ears and listened to the world. And this may seem cliché, but I felt that the world was telling me to be happy. It wan’t even whispering, but it was shouting it with great force and insistence: “Be happy. BE HAPPY. BE HAPPY!”
My heart was full of appreciation and love for being alive. I felt good as new.
I frequently get down about my neighborhood for a variety of reasons: the muggings, the shooting, the bicycle and car stereo thefts, the drunk old men wandering around, the hippie house holding band practice, etc. But yesterday I saw so many good things: kids skipping home from the school bus with their backpacks and lunch boxes, families walking tiny dogs, people doing yard work, babies being pushed in strollers and talked to with love, immigrant women, dressed in beautiful traditional clothing, talking in their native tongues and laughing.
I am so excited for fall that I forget many people don’t even consider it to be technically autumn yet. (I’m talking to you, Village Inn. Pumpkin Pie should not be seasonal. It is a delicacy that should be enjoyed year-round, or at least for longer than just the month of November. ) Fall has always been my favorite season. Summer is the default for so many student-aged people, because they love to be lazy, myself included. But when it gets down to it, fall is truly the bee’s knees.
A slight brisk feel on your skin, Halloween candy on the store shelf, scarves and sweaters and soft jeans— these are what make me love fall. School-wise, early autumn is awful. Everybody is furiously treading water, kicking as hard as they can to keep their nose above the rising waters of obligation and requirement. But during the impossibly short annual Indian summer, we all take a deep breath and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.
Have you ever heard of Julian of Norwich? She was an anchoress during the black plague in 14th century England. She is a venerated Christian mystic, whose work “Revelations of Divine Love” was the first book by a female author to be published in the English language. One of her most famous sayings, which has become a major point of Catholic theological teaching, is “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
(See mom and dad? Paying a hefty price for a Catholic, Jesuit, liberal arts education is worth it.)
I agree with Julian of Norwich. It will be okay. Everything will be okay and good and right.
Yesterday, I knew that it was a perfect day to be alive. All feelings of anxiety, unhappiness and drowning vanished, replaced with the fumes of fall and sunbeams and a slight breeze on my cheek.