Autumn Sadness and Pumpkin Spice

They say smells are deeply connected to memory, which is why I’m sitting here drinking cup after cup of lapsang souchong tea. It smells like autumn: smoke, burning leaves, cool air and sadness.

Autumn is by far my favorite time of year, though not necessarily for positive reasons; it reminds me of sadness, of depression and of death, and those are often the things I feel most comfortable around. Autumn is the season of dying and ending, as much as winter is a season of death and spring a renewal of life. Leaves wither, air cools, the ground turns hard and the sky grows darker.

Autumn is the season that my book primarily takes place in, and is the setting for some of the more tragic events that occur. For Amy it’s the turning point of the deepening of her depression, as it was for me at that delicate age of seventeen. And for me, autumn will always be connected to memories of loneliness, depression and despair.

You see, these are things I’ve lived with my entire adult life, and they are as much as a part of me as my own flesh and blood. Even as I’ve moved into the world, got a job and raised a family, I’ve never escaped the depression of my youth (now manifested as bipolar disorder), and in many ways depression comforts me. It’s a safe place, a place where no one can hurt me, because it numbs me to the thorns of the world.

And when I started writing, it was naturally about these same themes, whether in my current novel (currently titled 22 Scars) or in my fantasy work. And autumn, of course, is a frequently occurring season. In my fantasy world, Erâth, the world is covered in darkness and shadow, the sky ever clouded, and could be seen as being in a state of perpetual autumn; in 22 Scars, as I mentioned before, it’s the primary season of of the most important events.

So when pumpkin spice appears on the menu at my local Starbucks, I smile inwardly, and break out the lapsang souchong. Because when autumn comes and darkness falls, I finally know the horror of summer is behind me, and the comfort of night is ahead. I love autumn and everything about it, even though it makes me more depressed than at any other time of the year. Is that twisted? Quite likely. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s your favorite season, and why? Does it remind you of things, either good or bad? Let me know in the comments!

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