This week one of our foxes asked, “What’s your favorite part of autumn?”
I guess I’ve always been a busy person. My parents encouraged it, because they figured it kept my brothers and me out of trouble. And it was easy for us to engage in a lot of after-school activities, because the high school was only five blocks from our house (the district is tiny and no one has to walk more than three-quarters of a mile). So during the school year I learned to keep a calendar and check it before committing to anything new.
During the summer, I enjoy having a lot of unstructured time. Normally, this is when I get a lot of crafting done, and sewing projects and other things that got put on the back burner. But by August, I’m ready to return to my breakneck schedule and live on caffeine and adrenalin. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the 40-plus years I’ve spent as a teacher, but I’ve always looked forward to the start of school: meeting and getting to know new students, starting with a clean slate and trying new techniques. It’s a time of optimism and new goals.
Now that I’m not teaching full-time and my children are on their own, the back-to-school preparation isn’t as frenzied as it once was. I teach only two days a week at the university, so my own wardrobe needs are minimal and I use my car only a fraction of what I used to (the university is half the distance from my house from the elementary school where I taught). But my time has been filled with other seasonal activities that make me happy.
Now that my evenings are my own, I’ve filled several of them with other things. Some, like the community band, scrapbooking, and card-making, meet year-round, but others are seasonal, such as the two local community orchestras I have the pleasure of playing in. Grand Rapids is fortunate to have a top-rate professional symphony orchestra as well as several groups open to amateur musicians. I consider myself a hybrid; I have the training to be a professional musician (I’m even a card-carrying member of the musicians’ union!), but I lack the drive to practice and work toward the perfection necessary to make it my vocation. So two nights a week I travel across town to play, and I practice only enough to not embarrass myself. Each orchestra has already performed once this season, and one of them is finished until January, so I’ll have Tuesday nights free for awhile. The other group is preparing for a December concert.
I’ll have a little break over the holidays, and then all three performing groups will start up again in January. I enjoy the winter season, but driving is often scary in our unpredictable weather. So I have to say that the autumn season wins the title of my favorite season for making music!
What do you enjoy about autumn?