Welcome, autumn; I've been waiting for you
I'm glad you're here
life: examined is an invitation to get curious—a collection of ideas, and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life—written from my perch in Portugal.
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It's crisp. The wind is vigorous with a chill that nips at the freshly shorn nape of my neck. The sky is SO blue-tiful.
Fall has (thankfully) arrived.
Autumn, really. I prefer autumn, both the word and the season. Fall is a misnomer—it sounds sad and dreary.
Yes, this season is deliciously melancholy, but it's not dismal. I'll reserve dismal for the most bitingly cold and soggy sideways raining and sleeting winter day.
Temperate suits me. My ideal Goldilocksian environment is not too hot or too cold.
I know summer lovers are grieving the passing of another hot and sultry season of long days and warm nights, but I'm not a part of that cohort.
Summer is hot and feverish, in metaphor and actuality. Summer is marketing hype. It's the Hollywood blockbuster of seasons, and I'm not buying into it.
Smack in the middle of summer is my least favorite place to be. Well, that and the middle of winter, too.
But oh, Autumn
Most of my friends are autumn enthusiasts.
We are the humans who love cool nights and brisk mornings, where the day warms up enough by noon to throw off the chill, along with the sweaters that have made their way out of our wardrobes.
Setúbal's a town blessed with breezes that blow off the dolphin-flecked Sado river and icy Atlantic ocean, mediating even the hottest summer temperatures.
The wind really shows its stuff as the first breezes of late September portend the end of the heat. So naturally, autumn lovers rejoice when this happens.
We text each other or chat over coffee, exhilarated but tentative about the upcoming seasonal change.
"Does it feel like fall to you?"
"It does! But I'm afraid to get excited about it."
Of course, all bets are off with climate catastrophe hanging over the planet like an ominous shroud.
So we wait, knowing that a heat wave will arrive in October. Then we'll begrudgingly reach for lightweight clothing to get us through the spell.
But what will winter look like?
And the spring to follow?
Will we have rain?
Too much—or not enough?
Without a doubt, more weather extremes are coming our way. And that's everyone's way—wherever you live.
But this isn't an essay about climate catastrophe. For that critical topic, I'll defer to experts like Emily Atkin of the exemplary newsletter Heated (see One Good Link below). No, these words are a paean to my favorite season, autumn.
Moving from one season to the next, noting the changes and rhythms, have been chronicled throughout human existence. Music, poetry, and art celebrate the seasons, or usually one specific season.
Autumn is many things to me.
It's the season of transformation. Of contemplation. Of pre-hibernation before the true hibernation of winter. Autumn demands less of me. More clothing layers, yes, but fewer expectations, otherwise.
October is change.
I moved to Portugal in October. I moved back to San Diego from Portland (for the second time), graduated from Portland State University, AND sold my house all in the same October. And, of course, I've adapted to relationship shifts in October, too.
October is a container holding what was as it becomes what it will be.
I will NOT be moving this October, so I wonder what will happen in the next few weeks.
Something, for sure—but what? Will it be major or barely discernible?
Will it be a delight—perhaps an unexpected but welcome new perspective to infuse my life with joy? I hope so!
I have many questions; autumn allows me to slow down and wait for answers to emerge.
Of the other seasons, in general, I like spring second best. Late spring, preferably. Everything that wants to bloom shows its intention in physical form. Maybe that's a bit obvious, though.
It's not hard to love the blooming display that spring puts on, but it takes more work to love the closing down of visible activity that autumn foretells.
Fall reminds us that the fallow of winter is right around the corner; I like this lead-up to the dormant time.
I can also appreciate winter for its quintessential quiescence. Apparently I like alliteration, too.
Relishing the Days
Walking around Setúbal these past few weeks has been delightful. I’m reminded daily why I moved here and why I love it so.
The saffron-gold autumn light, the azure skies, and the breezes make me feel like I'm on the cusp of something… magical. Whatever it is, I can't wait to find out!
What about you? Autumn, spring, summer, or winter? What season do you fancy and why?
JUST ONE GOOD LINK:
Stop calling Charles the "climate king"
The new British monarch has not earned such a title, say climate activists from colonized nations
FAVORITE PORTUGUESE TO ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE WEEK:
Here I go again, bragging about Setúbal…
5 of the 10 best fliescats in the world were born in Setúbal
In all, 168 fliescoels from 19 countries were evaluated, in an event that rewards the extraordinary aromatic diversity of the flies…
I ask: can your town claim this?! :)
Thank you Peter, Val-Michael, Sande, JT, Janet, Jorge, Don, and Alex for supporting life: examined through Buy Me a Coffee. Your generosity, in part, affords me time to write this letter to you.
Whether a coffee, a comment, a like, or a share—I’m grateful to have you along for the ride.
Until next time —> thank you for reading and sharing life: examined!
Every season has its own glory. Autumn has the glory of the wonderful colours, as the trees prepare for winter.
Autumn, by a mile. Then early spring when you can see trees full of buds and daffodils pushing their way through late snow, demanding a change. Winter and summer can suck it, with the exception of an occasional deep, heavy snowfall at night, when I have no where to go except walking quietly through deserted streets, all you can hear is the snow drifting down and sticking to your wool cap, and your crunchy, echo-y boots following you home.
May I ask - what is a fliescat?? I googled this and fliescoels and I'm quite certain you aren't referring to cute little cat toys. What on earth is it?