Each calendar year gives me three months to look forward to the most: October, November, December. I call it my “Auter” since it includes parts of autumn and winter.
There are three main reasons I love Auter: the temperatures get cooler, the holiday season is in full swing, and strangers reveal their humanity.
Out here in too sunny Southern California where I have lived my entire life, sunshine and warm/hot temperatures are monotonous. I like variety.
I live for the seven-day forecast that shows a daytime temperature in the 60’s and a low reading in the 30’s. Those days, unfortunately are rare, as are rainy days.
I feel revitalized when the weather is cold during the day, brand new oxygen, clean and fresh. On those few brisk days, I feel that I can finally write that book.
Have you ever noticed how as you grow older the holidays seem more precious due to how few you have left in front of you?
As a child, there was nothing better than Christmas morning. Waking up to presents and eating a huge breakfast feast. That was Christmas.
However, as I’ve aged, it is the days leading up to any holiday that resonate with me more. That excitement of what’s to come, the anticipation of putting up certain decorations, shopping at stores that have somehow remained open throughout your lifetime, visiting particular restaurants dressed up for the holidays—those are my favorite days now.
By the time Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day arrives, it is anti-climatic. As soon as I wake up on Christmas, I no longer want to hear another carol or eat another cookie. It’s over. Gone for another 365 days.
As December melts into January, I hold on to a profound yet naive hope that people are nicer, kinder, more decent.
Stories abound about the generosity of people who give time or money to those less fortunate. Secret Santas who hand out $100 bills to strangers. Removing a paper ornament off a Christmas day with the name of a foster child who asks for a modest toy. Maybe that driver who never stops at a stop sign will finally do so for the safety of the stray dog or the mother with a stroller. Finally smiling at the grocery clerk you see all the time and letting her know how much her service means to you not just during the holidays but any old days.
The most confounded thing about Auter is how quickly the days go by. Why can’t the triple-digit days fly by and the chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire nights go on forever?
That is why I cherish these days and reflect on them when the August heat waves melt my mind.
As much as I can’t wait for the holiday season to return, I don’t really want January through September to go quickly because that would mean losing most of a year from one’s limited bank account of years, an account that no one knows the remaining balance.