The past 2 days have brought the slight change into autumn. Rainy and windy. Clouds in the sky that have that distinctive autumn look. Why do the clouds look different in autumn? What makes them different? Maybe there is a scientific explanation as to why. Maybe there is a scientific explanation as to why they aren't different. I don't really care either way. I don't really care that much about scienceTM. There is an essence, a feel, a sum of the parts when you look at the sky in September and October, even a bit in November.
The streets are a bit quieter now that school is in session. We live not too far from a high school so you can hear football games. The announcer, the marching band. Nostalgia. The colder nights are right around the corner. I can see a tree across the way that is already in the process of changing to a brilliant bright orange. The world changes slowly in autumn. Bit by bit, the dial is changed ever so slowly the world looks a bit different. But it isn't only visual. It is also the cool air, and the pace of life, the activities, the holidays, the memories. And beyond all that, it is a mindset. Why is today so different than last week? It isn't because the whole world changed. It is an essence, something that isn't objective. It is wispy, but real.
Autumn means my seersucker, madras and linen are put away while the tweed and corduroy are coming out. Everything gets dialed in to being just a bit more serious. I think many of us love autumn for the clothes. Some of our best Trad/Ivy/Prep pieces come out in autumn. The seersuckers and madras are great, we love them. The boat shoes we can't live without. Yet, there is something about tweed. There is something about the layering, something about the colorful landscape and how we feel while we are among the colors. It's so hard to explain, yet it's there.
Autumn really is special in North America. The trees, the colors, the style of old houses we associate with that scene. The little traditions. The connection and base of New England and the whole orbit and conceptions of autumn that all evoke images and feelings somehow directing us toward New England. The colonies. Early America. It really isn't the same in Europe. Autumn truly is special in North America.
There is something nostalgic about this season. Why is it nostalgic? I don't know. But, it is. I have known my wife since high school. We were together in high school. We have lots of fond memories together, when we were in high school, in autumn. This season in a way reminds me of so many memories of our youth. Beautiful memories. Memories of a time that isn't anymore. It wasn't that long ago. It wasn't more than 2 decades ago. Yet it feels like a different story, a different book, a different country. That world is not the world of the outside world today.
There are similarities of course, just as there were football games and marching bands then, they are today, we hear them from our house. Yet, it's not the same. I sound like an old statue echoing in the halls, but things were simpler. In the early aughts life was simpler for a high school student. It was also a bit of a heyday for neo-prep. In certain ways I dress the same as I did in high school, just a bit more reeled in and tweaked the right way due to years of developing a more mature taste as an adult. When I look at pictures of myself from then, I of course, like every adult, cringe. Too many patterns! Too much! But, of course, at least it was in the right direction. Mashed and mangled into something for a high schooler, but at least in the right direction. The students today? They are no different than their parents. When I see them walk to school I see some blue hairs here and there and a general scene of culture-less confusion. Degradation. The blob.
All that may sound like doom and gloom, and in a way it is. We shouldn't fool ourselves. Yet, it is also can be a positive force of inspiration. In a certain sense and a certain way, knowing that there isn't a mass of people that continue to pass the torch or hold up our aesthetic sensibility opens up an opportunity for responsibility. No one else is holding up any sense of dignity around here, the torch is lying on the floor for the taking. Nobody is even reaching for it. All you need to do is pick it up. Carrying that torch by living and dressing in an intentional way which is determined not by the lowered masses but by your own internal knowing, beliefs, and mission. This is an incredibly rewarding and meaningful opportunity. All one needs to do is simply pick up the torch.