Even being surrounded by Facebook posts, and laments from people longing for just a little more summer I can’t hide my giddiness for fall. In large part due to my unapologetic love of sweaters, socks, and my trusty NorthFace. But more than that there’s just something fabulous about Fall. The crispness, the extra satisfying sips of coffee on my way across campus, the softer sunsets that seem to linger just a little longer than their summer cousins. Possibly due to the fact that I’m not holed up in my apartment sitting in front of my air conditioner, but nonetheless, it’s a time of year I’m a little more mindful than usual.
I was introduced to a different view of fall the other day on a walk with a friend. After going on and on about my love of changing leaves and she shared with me the fact that for her fall is a sad time of year. Her view of fall frames it as a precursor to our seemingly interminable winters and backbreaking yard work. To be fair, her sunny disposition is much more in line with spring and summer weather patterns. There have been countless times where she’s gone on in great detail about the wealth of sunshine, flowers, and steaminess of North Dakota summers. About this time, I’m usually running worst case scenarios starring sticky ponytails, sunburns and runny mascara. I thought about this for a while after our walk had ended.
Granted, we may both simply have a preference for certain seasons. But it seemed to be a bit bigger than that. For my friend and I our love for our respective seasons is directly connected to what we pay attention to while we’re in that moment. It seems like one of the tasks in counseling is this very process. Supporting people to be open to what’s going on around them. Of course with most notions in counseling this occurs on a continuum. And, as always, it’s important not to discount mediating factors like culture, oppression, and socioeconomic status to someone’s experience. But, it seems like along with our natural dispositions for my friend and I there is an active process taking place as we engage with our environment. One where we are open and grateful to what’s going on—therefore, we remember it with fondness and look forward to it again. It seems to me, the more moments like this I have in any given day, the more content I am. Regardless of the season. (Note to self, remember this when February rolls around, I’m pumping gas with a sock on my hand so it doesn’t freeze to the pump, my garage door is frozen shut, and -25 degrees is the standard temp)
Michelle Wilson is a counselor in training in North Dakota. She is passionate about chemical health, recovery, and continuing to develop gender and cultural informed approaches to treatment.