Ella Staats, a 15-year-old writer from Burlington, writes about fall’s many layers, and the contrast between the ideal of “autumn’s golden rays” and the reality of the season’s fickle weather, wilting gardens and increasing darkness.
By Ella Staats, Age 15, Burlington, VT
In my head, fall came gracefully.
Hot summer days melted into crisp fall mornings
where I shrugged casually into a sweater,
listing effortlessly off one shoulder,
and drifted out into the world,
my skin glowing under autumn’s golden rays.
In my mind, I was an Urban Outfitter’s model,
relaxed onto the steps of an NYC brownstone,
wearing oversized overalls and a drooping beanie,
doe-eyed, hair tousled, lips pouted perfectly.
Fall was perfection.
In reality, fall came begrudgingly.
I woke up shivering, in a dark room,
and found it too warm for my sweater fantasy
and too cold for the common tee-shirt.
My misremembered autumn crumbled away,
leaving fickle weeks of hot to cold and back again,
of apple orchards where the grass was too dewy
and I got yelled at for climbing the trees,
and the satisfying crunch of the perfect apple
broke every bracket on my braces.
Fall was deceiving.
Maybe fall is a give and take.
Maybe fall isn’t all red lips and sundrops
or drizzling days and muddy sneakers.
Maybe it’s a leaf burning scarlet on the blueberry bush
and a cider donut consumed in the back of a pickup truck
but also new leather boots squelching through swampy puddles
and spider webs sprawling across dusty beach chairs.
Fall is the smell of apples boiling down on the stove.
Fall is using every last bit of energy to wake up in the dark.
Fall is sweatpants and hot chocolate and Netflix,
but also ugly raincoats and wilting gardens.
Regardless of what fall encompasses,
it has tapped on my shoulder once again,
reminding me that seasons change and time passes.
I will appreciate autumn for whatever it is;
I’m done living in a golden, 2D fantasy.
Fall is here, and so am I.