Fall. I don't know what it is, but those autumnal decorations bug me every year. Maybe it's just me, but the minute the scarecrow comes out of someone's closet and makes its way onto a fence, a carport, or a front stoop, I start feeling like the ceiling is dropping and the lid on the box is about to close.
I'll admit it: I like summer. A lot. The warm sun, the ocean, the flip flops and shorts; these bring smiles to my world. I literally dread the day the ice skating rink gets installed in downtown San Francisco each year, a day that inevitably follows the Labor Day Christmas decorations already on the shelves in every store. Commerce blooms too early on its annual steroid high. The days shorten, the shadows lengthen, and I miss summer already.
But this year, just after scoffing at the scarecrow in the neighbor's yard and shaking my head, I thought, "What if this were your last October?"
What if this were the last time the scarecrow's button-eyed gaze followed me each time I passed by?
What if this were the last crisp October scattering leaves on the ground?
What if the cobwebs and ghouls and goblins and horns-a-plenty were never to be seen again -- ever?
And then, right then, it changed. The pumpkins at the market looked friendlier. I fondled the winter squashes one by one, feeling their varying textures and weight and size and not caring who noticed. I gave the scarecrow's nose a gentle tweak the next time I passed by, and smiled.
I think he smiled back.