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Taking in the beauty of fall

Friday brought the first semblance of bite in the air. Walked outside in a T-shirt and had to go back in to find something with sleeves.

It’s a good feeling, that very first indication that it is genuinely October. The Major League Baseball playoffs were a week in and football season was about halfway through at the collegiate level, but fall didn’t really ride in until Friday.

Everyone has a favorite time of year. Mine is unequivocally fall. That stretch from about two weeks before Halloween through New Year’s is hard to beat.

The general feeling is festive. Plans are made. Costumes and decorations adorn stores and, eventually people and homes. Football is played. Fans are outspoken and occasionally belligerent, but always passionate. Children seem excited, whether it is the promise of candy or thoughts of Halloween costumes or just the lure of some time away from school during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

The air is cool, bringing about the need for jackets and hoodies and blankets and maybe a little extra snuggling for those who are blessed enough to have such an option.

It is a time of year, perhaps more than any other, that seems all about family and friends and all the things that make life good.

Life. Often, it is as tumultuous and temperate as the seasons themselves. The worries of finances and various other stressors so often detract from the resplendent simplicity of the things that make each day wonderful and fulfilling.

It is becoming increasingly easy to overlook the drives in the country, the walks in the park, the days at the river, the times in front a football game, the smell of firewood, the feeling of a warm blanket, the sound of Saturdays in autumn, the childlike fun of Halloween, the value of having someone with whom to enjoy even the bad days and the joy of time spent with old friends.

Fall brings with it hope. It is the relieving cool that takes away the struggle of the long, hot summer. As leaves abandon their hold on trees and ultimately find their way to the ground, Fall wipes away all that is old, preparing the space for what will eventually be the newness of another year.

That year will undoubtedly bring with it the optimism of possibility. The possibility of besting the stressors, of avoiding the pitfalls and mistakes of the previous year. The chance to move closer to becoming the person each ultimately desires to be.

For now though, there is fall. It is a period of reflection and recreation, a time for bundling up and kicking back. It is pots of chili and pans of cornbread. It’s darkness falling sooner and temperatures falling further.

It’s passing out candy and complimenting costumes and readying for relatives and realizing somewhere in the midst of it all that this is the proverbial good life for which everyone waits. It has virtually nothing to do with occupation, car or abode. It is about enjoying the now and all of the beautiful intricacies that come with it.

So watch the game, any one of them. Take in the scents and the sounds. Walk outside and enjoy the briskness of the breeze. And take just a moment to appreciate all of the exceptional little things that make this and every season wonderfully unique.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of the Demopolis Times