The epitaph on Ernest Hemingway’s memorial quotes (roughly) from a eulogy he wrote for one of his friends. It reads:
“Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
Now he will be a part of them forever.”
There is no more appropriate sentiment to wrap up my feelings about the seasons. Of course, mine would have to say, “Best of all, he loved his family,” – but if it weren’t for them, I would wholeheartedly agree with Pappa.
The best time of year is looming just over the horizon. I felt it this morning. In the morning, there was a hint of moisture and coolness that said, “Just hold on a few more weeks, I’m almost there.” Grab your tent, build a campfire and fix a steaming hot cup of coffee. Hold your feet to the fire and breath deeply, because this is rare.
Some people live for spring and summer, and I’m not immune to the giddy joy that comes with hot days, blooming flowers, glaring sun, screaming kids and romps in the ocean. But fall feels like the moment you hit the bed after an 18-hour work day. Cold sheets when you first climb into bed. It is the release of everything hectic and hard. It is a big sigh of relief with a warm embrace. It is a comfortable sweatshirt and cold dew on the grass that completely wets your bare feet and leaves that crunch and smells one-hundred times better than the most expensive perfume. It is the violins that kick in after the first verse of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. It is unshaven, grown up and mature … it signifies ends and beginnings. It’s sad, but comforting.
Spring is happy and fun. Summer is living and playing hard. Winter is refreshing. But fall, oh fall, it is the time to relax, release and renew. It can be found on a hike, a hunting trip, a nighttime football game, a drive with the windows open and darkness that falls before dinner. It surprises you when you’re least expecting it – and you know life gets no better than that. It is orange and brown, crisp and cool and real. It is bright blue skies almost entirely covered with huge, dark-bottomed clouds and a brisk wind blowing the leaves from the trees.
“Best of all, he loved the fall.” Yes Poppa, you got it right one last time. We should not be surprised.