I’ve been considering Fall, 2020. We’ve had a glorious Fall and, selfishly, I think well deserved, given my first eight months of 2020. During those months I went through triple bypass heart surgery, then the virus hit with all its ramifications.
As Spring progressed I took a positive step to help my frustration and, to some degree, my depression with the state of our lives—I created my Spring project which you saw in an earlier essay. In September I thought—why not come up with something similar for Fall?
Have a look at the Fall transition.
Fall was gentle this year. No 40 cm snow dump in early September. No freezing snap that destroys gardens just after Labour Day. No Bow Valley winds that strip the trees before they get a chance to show all their colours. We lived with a slowly progressing season—I think the way Fall is supposed to be—and I loved it. Nevertheless it had to come, the end that is, and it did, here in Cochrane. Over the past few days Fall left and I, along with my neighbours, hauled out our snow shovels from their summer hibernation and put them to work.
As often happens in my advancing years, a good memory came to me one day as I raked up the golden yellow and crimson red leaves from our trees. That was my memory of raking leaves into a pile on the street in front of my parents’ house. That pile, along with several other neighbours’ piles up the street, would be set on fire early one morning and then tended until it was mostly ash. The remains of ash and charred leaves would be swept up and put in the garbage, or in our case, dumped down the river bank. That practice was dangerous, filled the air with acrid smoke, and was a mess to clean up properly, which is probably why it is now unlawful in towns and cities.
I also remember the somewhat stupid yet entertaining thing I did when Dad wasn’t around. I would get the BBQ starter out of the garage and keep squirting the burning leaves, just to help them along. The temporary blaze was marvellous, but I was lucky I didn’t set fire to the nearby bushes or myself. In the Spring of the next year Dad was confused as to why, when he went to light the first BBQ of the year, he couldn’t find the starter fluid that he was sure he put away the previous Fall. I, of course, said nothing.
Fall is gone for another year. Given my state last January, I am just glad that I was here to live it, once again.