Start of the Fall

"I went to sleep, 'twas summer
Awoke, to find it fall."
JCK, 9.23.10

In the fall of my senior year of high school, my best friend and my boyfriend hooked up. I was devastated, not because I'd lost my boyfriend (he was SO not the one!), but because my very best friend in the whole world betrayed me. (Yes, history sometimes repeats itself.) I wrote a song at the tender age of 16 called, "The Start of the Fall." It was sad and filled with proper teenage angst. I liked the fact that "fall" meant both autumn, and an emotional fall:

The leaves were falling all around
My head was tripping on the ground
I closed my eyes, but no one saw

Just how I felt at the start of the fall

The leaves were falling on the ground
My world was spinning 'round and 'round
I closed my eyes, I called and called

But n
o one heard at the start of the fall

That was then, and this is now. This fall is not sad. It is happy and beautiful, joyous and free.

I took these pics in my backyard yesterday afternoon. The first hints of bright reds and playful yellows are peaking through, hinting at a world of unimagined possibilities. Fall is like spring; a time of new beginnings - a time to contemplate, create, rejuvenate, and discover.

What's happy, beautiful, joyous, and free about this fall, besides the brilliant colors and inevitable/unfathomable phases of nature, you ask? Well, I'm nearly halfway through my edits on Draft #6 (Did I mention I've got an Awesome Agent? No? Huh. Wonder how I missed that...), I bought a new bicycle (teal blue Trek!) for the first time since I was 13 (it's true what they say about never forgetting how to ride, thank goodness - I'll post pics soon), I'm enjoying lots of inspiring newly-released music (Arcade Fire, Robert Plant, Mumford and Sons), I'm getting back into my own music as well, and - most importantly - my life is filled with the most amazing family, friends, and feline captors who are all happy and healthy. My blessings can not be counted in only one lifetime.

I'm approaching this fall differently than I have in many years - with a renewed love of my precious life and a vengeance for making my dreams come true. I'm learning that when you experience a great loss, on the other side of that deep, paralyzing sadness is a heightened appreciation for everything in life.

Like Ingrid Betancourt - a French-Columbian politician who was kidnapped and held captive for over six years in the jungles of Columbia - said on Oprah*, "It's not until you realize how fragile you are, that you understand your strengths."

In honor of the human spirit and our miraculous ability to persevere, I intend to keep gratitude, joy, and humility in the forefront every day. I will build a mental temple to worship these ideals. Sometimes I'll fail, but this will remain my daily goal.

Fall can be bleak, depressing, and draining, or it can be bright, uplifting, and filled with passionate energy. As with most things in life, it's a choice. (Pain is inevitable, suffering optional.)

What does autumn represent to you, and what are some of your goals as you head into this precious new season?

*I tried my best to remember, but these may not be her exact words. The sentiment, however, is clear.
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