Steve Eighinger

As fall arrives, so does a stronger sense of hope

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 15, 2020 8:30 am

Since late March I have felt as if I have been caught in some kind of crazy time warp. A serious, serious crazy time warp.

When all of the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place -- from lockdowns to masks to school and sports cancellations -- the calendar seemed to morph into one massive blur.

April, May, June, July and August evolved into one never-ending capsule of uncertainty and frustration.

September, however, seems to have brought some promise.

The other day I looked out the front door and remarked to the Little Woman, "Hey, Kath, the leaves are starting to fall."

Sure enough, the neighbor across the street was actually raking leaves and in our front yard there were two trees beginning to discard their own collections. About that time, a breeze worked its way through the neighborhood, and it was obvious that autumn was beginning to make its presence felt. Not only was the breeze itself welcome on an otherwise warm and somewhat humid day, but one by one, and sometimes in clusters of four or five, more of those aforementioned leaves began to escape their previous homes.

September has already provided a bit of anticipation for a return to normalcy, and I hope October will be even better.

The October colors will become even richer, football -- to some extent -- will be filling the air, baseball playoffs will be underway and the kids will be entrenched in their new school years. (Hopefully, there is no setback concerning that last item.)

L.M. Montgomery, who penned "Anne of Green Gables," may have cornered the most appropriate thought for this time of the year -- especially this year.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers," the Canadian author once wrote.

Considering what April, May, June, July and August managed to deliver this year, those are truly welcome words. There is a sense that September is trying to provide that kind of hope, with daily life trying to return to what we were enjoying until mid-March, and hopefully October will offer some sort of exclamation point in this ongoing road to recovery.

Granted, there are bound to be ups and downs aplenty in the coming days, weeks and months, but as the seasons change there is an intangible feel of growing optimism. September is providing the door, and hopefully October will give us a glimpse of the runway leading out of the recent five- or six-month funk that enslaved us.

Is the worst over? Is there a vaccine coming soon? I wish I knew the answer to both of those questions, but what I do know is that we're closer to that return to the way we were than what we experienced in late spring and the heart of summer.

One other thought, compliments of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, as we begin to experience this change of seasons: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

Has there ever been a year when we need to believe in that observation more than 2020?