This is actually a glass tray, with fall leaves pressed between two panes of glass, held up to a window.

Fall is my favorite time of year, so grant me this indulgence. I don't really have a specific story to share this time, but this time of year, more than any other, means the most to me. It has nothing to do with any certain holiday, person, or event, just the simple essence of what fall is and can represent. 

Having been through a couple challenging years (and those that know me well know the story), I feel like I've finally arrived at a place of peace again. Fall is peace for me; it feels like home. I was born in the heart of the season, so maybe that's why it resonates in such a way with me. It is the most different season of the year. The smells are different, the leaves are finally showing their natural color, and it almost feels like the earth is taking a deep breath before the onset of winter and coming work of the spring season. It is a season of reflection, a look back at what has happened over the previous months. Has it been a good year or bad? Does it really matter? 

Just taking some time to reflect on the past and enjoy the season is important. Last year, I felt like I missed a lot of it because I was out on the road, and I did. Once I got back, it was already winter. The year felt incomplete. This year, on the other hand, I've gotten to really enjoy it. 

Thanksgiving is also a totally underrated holiday. In our consumer-driven society, thanks to the upcoming holiday season, retailers and Starbucks have all but destroyed the importance of the fall. It seems like once Halloween hits, it's all elves and reindeer the next day. Sure, maybe Thanksgiving isn't as exciting and doesn't have as much lore associated with it, but I feel like it's the only holiday that properly observes the essence of the fall season. It gives thanks for the year, the bad and the good. It is a holiday that, at least at its inception, was meant to celebrate Thanks and Giving together. Thanks for those around you, and giving to them out of sharing, is what the holiday is about.

Leave the fake snow, grinch, and reindeer for December. I love Christmas too, and there's no denying that the Christmas season is the favorite holiday of most. Every holiday has its own time. Everything, even the good, loses its savor if you try to have it all the time. Christmas and fall are both like this. Though one, thankfully, can never be around for too long. It comes once a year, and once the leaves are gone, it's over. It is self-limiting and totally out of our control. Thank God for that!

So, for the week or so of fall that we have left: try to enjoy it for what it is. The month-long holiday that is Christmas has already tainted this season, and will smack us in the face full force soon enough. Take a walk, look at the leaves, and feel the change of season, because it will be gone soon. Winter is coming ;)

- Hans