It’s September, finally. In March when everything started shutting down, and the days and the weeks stretched out into one long, seemingly endless blob of uncertainty and fear, it felt like September would never get here. Time, of course, keeps marching on as always, and the days did turn into weeks, and the weeks turning into April May June July.
Now we’ve gotten through August, in this weird half open/half shut country of ours. Election season is in full swing, as both parties have announced their nominees, and the Summer of Protest is winding into the Fall of Protest. August and September usually mean the first days of school, and the debate about whether or not to open schools grows more and more heated throughout the country.
Fall has always felt more of a rebirth, than the trudge to the end, for me. Fall is crisp and the heat slowly slips away as the cool air moves in. Things feel like they get back to normal after the chaos of summer. It’s nice to feel like you no longer have to shed entire layers of skin to keep cool. Even here in Los Angeles, as it stays warm for most of the year because of the desert, when the temperature starts to drop, it feels like we're finally being set free a little bit.
I know that I am not unique in saying that fall is my favorite season. It always has been, as I was almost always a child that preferred to stay inside with a book over melting in the heat. Growing up in Houston, summer means 100% humidity, air that feels sticky and heavy with the water vapor, on top of the heat of the sun. It means hurricanes, mosquitoes, and summer rains making the humidity even worse. We used to take family trips to Lake Powell on the borders of Utah and Nevada, and I would more often than not spend time laying in the houseboat with my latest book while everyone else took jet skis out and spent time on the beaches or swimming.
Even as the country is still dealing with this reckoning — politicians in power and law enforcement pointedly not listening to the will of the people, endangering lives, I could keep going — a small part of me is hopeful, because fall brings new beginnings. Leaves start to turn as the trees prepare for new growth. Seeds that were planted are finally ready to harvest. Fall means it is easier to exist, as the heat stops dictating our lives.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in November, as maybe the most important election of this generation comes and goes. I don’t know what’s going to happen in September, and October, as cities and people continue to chafe under the weight of our histories and people’s ignorance.
Fall means a new start, for so many of us. New chances to be better, new chances to make the world better. New sports seasons, new days to work towards our prizes. Fall is fighting season, raring and ready to go season.
It feels so often like this country, our people, are on the edge of a new beginning, for better or worse. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all on a knife’s edge watching everything around us. This fall may be more of a new start than ever before.
We all know it’s time to fight, if you haven’t been in the fight before. It’s time to fight for those you care about, the people that you love, and that love you. It’s time to fight for the right thing, as we keep seeing people who should know better consistently do the wrong thing.
Sure, fall is for warm sweaters and apple scented candles, cups of cider, leggings and boots. Spooky season, magic and pumpkins everywhere (gimme that pumpkin chai latte, please). It’s for hunkering in close to your partner or your blanket, smelling leaves burning on the air. This is the stuff that makes me hopeful for the year to come, that makes me believe in new beginnings, as we can settle in and take comfort. Fall is for rest before the restart.
We can have those things and fight for what we love, what we need, what the people around us need and love.
We know it’s going to be worse before it gets better. We’ve had all summer of this, nearly all year of this unrest, this bubbling cauldron of disappointment and anger and hurt. When it’s been so clear that the people in power only care about themselves and the people that give them money.
But it’ll be fall soon. And fall means we get our supplies, pack our backpacks, fill our thermoses, cover our faces, and get to work.