The maple by our driveway must have gotten the memo yesterday that it was the first day of fall. None of the other trees seem to be on board, but I watched from the kitchen as 5 or 6 taffy yellow maple leaves spun leisurely towards the ground.

Maybe none of the other trees acted like it was Fall because it was near 90 yesterday. Fall is different here than what I remember in Maryland, Michigan, and other proper 4 season states. We have it, but the lines are blurry.

It makes me think about other nonsense delineations we take as law. Thinking we need a degree (or another degree) to be taken seriously or earn what we want to earn. Thinking we need to please an editor or book publisher to get published. 

Is it good only because someone said it was good, someone with the right power? Is it fall only because the calendar says its fall, regardless of how firmly the leaves are adhered to the trees?

And maybe this is where the metaphor falls apart. Because yes sometimes you do need to please the gatekeepers (usually though, in this digital, modern world, you don’t) while fall is in reality just measured by the ratio of day to night. 

Shortening days say it’s fall, even when the thermometer laughs at you. On the plus side, I’ll be harvesting tomatoes in October again at this rate. A win.

And like the gatekeepers quandary I know that I don’t need someone to say my work is good, and I doubt you do either. I can publish it digitally, and it’s just as easy to publish in print. 

You don’t need an agent if you don’t mind slowly growing your project by word of mouth. You don’t need to go back to school to do work that matters and positively impacts the world. Just do the work. 

So if it doesn’t feel like fall, remember you don’t have to act like it is. Self-publish that novel, teach yourself the skill you crave, be the tree that holds on to your leaves while the sun still shines because you know you’ve got time to make something of yourself. Come spring and beyond, that will make you the one blooming most beautifully.


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