Fall, here in the best coastal town, is magical. The trees are ablaze in colors that scream of endings and beginnings in one breath. The sky is a backdrop of bluerthanblue. The smell of woodsmoke lingers. The crunching of the leaves that have fallen add a musical descant to everyday chores. Inside is cozy and warm and outside is brisk and enlivening. Yet fall here in New England is ambiguous.
As I sit on my back deck drinking a cup of coffee and welcoming the day, I hear the trademark sound of autumn: a flock of geese flying overhead. They are headed south like they should - this time of year is the unmistakable foreword to months of bitter cold. The geese are in their telltale V formation, the hull of a ship. The leader is shielding the wind for each bird who follows. The wake of the ship is their lingering song.
They fly by with keen collaboration. They slice through the sky with determined precision. They are in this together. I begin to dust off a fact I must have learned in gradeschool. Yes. Geese mate for life.
I am transported by these birds, not to a place, but to a time between times.
Fall is neither here nor there, just like the geese on their journey.
Fall is a season decidedly between seasons. It is that moment on the merry-go-round when the child loses sight of her waving parents and begins to panic. Things are going by in a blurr and the cigarette smoking bearded man with all the tattoos isn't paying attention to her. He won't stop the ride because he doesn't notice her silently pleading with him. She sheds some silent tears. That moment is fall.
Of course she finally spots them. Her parents had been fumbling through their bag looking for the camera. They wanted to stop time. To remember her just as she was. She breathes a sigh of relief. Fall slips into winter.
The geese are gone, leaving behind the truth that time spins on. The merry-go-round will seat a brand new rider filled with anticipation.