I've been looking up a lot lately. It's hard not to, what with the trees showing off their riotous fall color line. You can almost hear them trilling a diva-like "Ta-DAH!", especially in the early morning, when the rising sun makes each tree blaze so brightly you can't help noticing.
And notice I do, every morning on my walk to work. My daughter Melissa is a high school senior, and in recognition of her elevated status I've been letting her take the car to school most days. So before we settle down at our respective desks, Mel gets the pleasure of driving while I enjoy a peaceful stroll in the chilled autumn air.
Did you ever see something so beautiful it almost hurts, as if your eyes can't look hard enough to take it all in? I get that almost every morning now. Last Monday the sunrise lit my entire street with a surreal bright orange glow. When I looked down at myself - cool! - I was glowing, too. The view from the Champion Street bridge was pink and blue sky and Lake Superior shimmering silvery blue.
I wish there was a hotline to call or an alarm to sound at moments like that; something to give everyone the chance to stand still and be dazzled before they're swallowed up by their daily routines. Autumn does this, gives us beautiful consolation gifts in apology for summer's passing.
As much as I enjoy my annual mope about it, I must admit to feeling a little relieved that summer's over. Summer is one pushy season. It screams, "What is wrong with you? What are you doing at work when you could be at the beach?" Summer hums with manic urgency. It's time for baseball, barbecues, swimming, camping, gardening, sunbathing, and hurry up about it, you've only got three months. When I'm indoors in the summer I feel I'm squandering a precious gift, like I'm hiding in the house while outdoors it's raining hundred-dollar bills.
Fall, on the other hand, is mellow, the Jerry Garcia of seasons. Fall says, "Yeah, it's nice out here, but if you wanna go inside, hey, that's cool." Fall doesn't lay a guilt trip on you if you aren't spending every free moment frolicking outdoors. You can wrap up in an afghan, grab a book and a bowl of popcorn and appreciate the season from behind your living room windows, guilt free.
Even odder than my relief at the end of summer is the fact that, for some unfathomable reason, I'm not dreading winter this year. While I'm not thrilled at the prospect of shoveling my plowed-in driveway at 6:30 in the morning or shivering in my boots in the backyard waiting for Indy to decide which patch of snow he'll deign to christen, I don't feel that claustrophobic "here comes trouble" pinch in my gut. Is this a sign of maturity or a symptom of dementia? Either way, I'll take it.
But keep in mind that my current seasonal acceptance disorder is subject to change. I reserve the right to revert to pouty, whiny immaturity in the event of an October snowstorm, unseasonably low wind chills, wet mittens or a nationwide hot chocolate shortage. At the moment, however, all is beautiful - especially when you look up.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Deb Pascoe is a Marquette resident, mother of three and full-time editorial assistant in The Mining Journal newsroom. Her bi-weekly columns focus on her observations on life and family. She can be reached by phone at 228-2500, ext. 240, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog online at www.singlesobermom.blogspot. com.