Jim always felt melancholy in the Autumn. He would stand outside on those first cool evenings, watching crispy leaves scudding down the street, and mourn a little for the loss of Summer. I think he was also feeling age creeping up (even as energetic as he was). A long string of Summers and Springs stretched behind him and fewer Autumns and Winters lay ahead.
I must confess that there are things I miss about the Autumns of my youth. I feel a bit sad that today's suburban kids never know the smell of burning leaves.
Yes, Virginia, we actually used to burn our raked leaves, right there in the back yard. On still evenings, a pall of smoke hung over the entire neighbourhood, pungent and promising. So what if our eyes watered--the smell was heavenly! Of course, on windy days, the aroma was just a whiff on the breeze.
My parents would have laughed to scorn the idea of bagging up leaves and putting them on the curb for the garbage truck to haul off. The only burned about half of theirs--the rest went into the compost bin, to be forked over after every rain and diligently dug into the garden the following Spring. Compost, far from being gross and disgusting, had a loamy smell that spoke of natural decay and the good things to come from it.
Here in Texas, we don't usually get the brilliant colours of northern Autumn. Some trees take on a lovely hue, but most leaves just turn brown and fall off. This is partly due to the type of trees we have, but (as I found out one year when we had an early frost) the weather has a lot to do with it, as well. I confess that I miss the maples and birches and other northern trees of my childhood.
I never thought I would get homesick for the damp, foggy chill of Autumn on Vancouver Island, but I do.
So, I guess I get a little melancholy, myself.