Autumn need not be anything special.
I find that hard to believe, however, each September when I take out my volume of Edwin Way Teale’s Autumn Across America. I am perennially willing to trust a book published in 1956 to guide me across still another season of flyways and harvests and dry leaves scudding across sidewalks.
I might suspect that I know more about autumn with each year, but I am not sure that is true. I am more sure each year that I do not know exactly what to say about all that stretches out beyond September 21.
I note chrysanthemums and corduroy. I bring up recipes for soups and breads. I search out sweatshirts and caps. I expect the surprise heartache one day of finding that I am walking with the wind in my face.
Winding my way between rows of old tombstones this coming autumn, I may get to feel at once easy and solemn. With the Roman poet of fields and harvests, I might well muse:
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas (Georgics 2.490)
Happy the individual who has been able to learn the reasons for things.