Author-illustrator Nick Bruel and I are kicking off a four-part series today. Around the first day of each season for the next year, Nick will drop by Watch. Connect. Read. to share his thoughts on the approaching season. I predict the posts will make you laugh, smile, and welcome the new season with open arms. Are you ready to have A WONDERFUL YEAR?
Hi. It’s time we talked.
I hope you recognize that I’m coming to you as a friend and as someone who truly cares about your well being. Some of the things I’m about to say might be difficult to hear, but please understand that I’m coming to you with all the best intentions.
I’m very concerned about your public image.
They’re talking about you, Fall. And what they’re saying is not so good. They’re saying that you are barely your own season anymore, that you’ve become a mere extension of other seasons. Just about everyone looks at you as the final chapter to Summer or the opening paragraph to Winter. I know what you’re thinking; this is unfair, and I agree. But this is what they’re thinking, and I thought you should know.
And it doesn’t help your popularity ratings that the school year starts with you. Oh sure, there are lots of people who love this about you, but let’s face it… you also depress a lot of kids. This is the sort of thing that doesn’t help your reputation with future generations.
By the way, are you “Fall” or are you “Autumn”? Sometimes you’re “Fall”. Sometimes you’re “Autumn”. Sometimes you’re “Fall”. Sometimes you’re “Autumn”.
It’s making us think that one of them is politically correct and the other isn’t, even though neither one seems offensive. None of the other seasons have this problem, and with good reason because it can all get a little confusing. I’m just going to call you “Fall”. You can correct me later if you want to.
Now don’t get me wrong. I do see all of the hard work you’re doing. Changing the colors of all the leaves like that is nothing short of genius. I’ve actually seen groups of people stand by the side of a road in New England and applaud your efforts. It was one of those slow, quiet claps that built up into rhythm that beat faster and faster and louder and louder until it concluded with a resounding cheer! Really.
The only problem is that this whole leaf color business is clearly wearing you out. You’re working too hard, Fall. Correct me if I’m wrong but every year you change the colors of the leaves spectacularly for a few short weeks, and then it looks like you collapse from the effort. What was once red or orange or yellow all becomes brown. All of it. Brown.
And what’s worse is that you drop all the leaves everywhere for people like me to sweep off our driveway and scoop out of our rain gutters and rake off our lawns. I don’t have that kind of time, Fall! I’m a busy man. And these things, they’re all over the place! But if I let the landscaper take care of them, he charges me an arm and a leg! And months later – MONTHS - I still find these brittle, brown, sloppy leaves crammed inside the little well just below my windshield wipers! But if I…
This isn’t about me. It’s about you. But you can see that if someone like me can become this frustrated, then you can imagine how someone who doesn’t care must feel.
I have a few suggestions, Fall. You can take them or leave them. They’re just suggestions.
1) Keep the colors. Everyone likes those colors you create for the leaves. So just leave them. Winter could use a little color, anyway. (I’ll be talking to Winter later, so just let me handle the negotiations. Okay?)
2) Keep the leaves in the trees. Oh sure, the all-powerful garden rake lobby might take you to court over this, but you’ll more than make up for your efforts when your public opinion rating skyrockets.
3) If you really have to drop the leaves and turn them brown, let’s give them some sort of purpose. I’m not sure what, but just off the top of my head I think it might be a neat idea to flavor them chocolate. If you give the people chocolate, Fall, they will love you. The leaves are brown. Chocolate’s brown. Half of your work is done already. Just think about it.
I hope I haven’t upset you, Fall. You’re my favorite season for wearing jean jackets. And you know how much I like wearing my jean jackets, Fall.
Let’s talk again soon. You know how to reach me.
I am giving away a signed copy of A Wonderful Year.
Rules for the Giveaway
1. It will run from 9/21 to 11:59 p.m. on 9/23.
2. You must be at least 13.
3. If you win, please pay it forward.
Look for A Wonderful Year on January 6, 2015.