My favorite season is spring, which might have something to do with how my birthday is in April. When I was in Buenos Aires last spring, however, it was autumn there, since the seasons are switched. This has some nice poetry to it; spring and autumn, opposite seasons, occur at the same time. Spring is the birth of the year and autumn is its death; my favorite play (T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral) dwells a great deal on this, to great aesthetic success. My dad's birthday is, as it happens, less than a week before mine, but his favorite season is, not spring, but autumn. Good for him. The two seasons are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

All people ritualize the changes in the seasons; it's a natural thing to do. (And people who live in parts of the world that do not have four seasons surely find themselves connected to the natural world in other ways.) Favorite holidays revolve around this; it's not for nothing that so many Christmas carols capitalize on the winter setting of the holiday and speak of line shining into a darkened world. It's no accident that Passover falls in the spring, and it's no accident that Easter features a rich array of traditions, from Easter egg hunts to great hymns, that celebrate the coming of spring.

The world can often be a rather tragic place, but the natural tendency to enjoy fall should be a sign of hope. If we can celebrate the death of the year (and forget for a bit the miserable part of winter that comes right before the birth of spring), then we have reason also to be comfortable with the beautiful tragedy of a world in which (we fear) dark and dry spells are inevitably, but (we hope), just as inevitably, hope will likewise make its appearance.