My complicated relationship with fall


 

Everyone loves fall, right? The colours. The clothes. The coziness. The pumpkin spice everything. The fact it’s still nice enough to play outside but you get to wear proper shoes and pants again.

It’s a great season. Especially, in my humble opinion, if you live in Canada where the changing colours of the leaves are unparalleled.

Fall used to be my favourite season. For all of those reasons.

Now I almost hate it. I dread its arrival as soon as I feel the first hint of frost in the air. Those who know me well understand this. It’s when my Big Loss happened. I get panicky. I sometimes retreat into myself. I don’t like the feeling of fall and the fact that I used to love it so much only makes it harder.

I notice everything about fall. The colour of the sky, purple against the orange leaves as the sunlight hits them just right. The way the breeze nips at your skin but doesn’t bite, not yet. The way a falling leaf floats up for just a moment before finding its way to the earth.

In each of those things that I notice is something that I’ve lost. So I notice them with a tiny pang. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe this time of year.

Instead of fighting it and hiding, I’ve decided this year I’m going to take advantage of the fact I am aware of every detail of the fall. I’m going to paint what I notice, even when it hurts.

I’m going to paint the purple sky. The orange leaves. The yellow light. The breeze in the trees. I’m going to put it all on the canvas and find some joy in it again.

If my fall colours paintings seem tense or sad, it’s because that’s how I feel painting them. But I think they’re also filled with joy and love and a passion for finding the beautiful in the difficult and damaged.

These paintings carry a lot of hope in them. Hope for a future for myself where maybe fall isn’t so hard. Hope for new beginnings. Hope for finding the good in the bad.

And, just maybe, they’ll bring you a feeling of hope, too, and you’ll want to bring one home.