Valley Voices

Autumn is a time for awakening, taking stock, and getting cozy

Silva Emerian, her sons and husband enjoy an autumn outing.
Silva Emerian, her sons and husband enjoy an autumn outing. Special to The Bee

About this time 18 years ago I was busy putting the final touches on my wedding preparations. I was getting ready to close out my single life in Boston and move on to married life in Fresno.

Wedding planning had been a series of ups and downs. My father had a massive heart attack eight months before the wedding date and miraculously survived. My fiancé was in Fresno hunting for apartments while I figured out wedding details on my own. Then the terrorist attacks took place on 9/11, shutting down Logan airport and leaving me in a panic about how my fiancé and his family would get to Boston for the wedding.

Thankfully the airport reopened, wedding details fell into place and my father was able to walk me down the aisle. We took wedding photos in Harvard Square with rust and golden-colored leaves lining the streets around us. The weather was cool, but it wasn’t the air that gave me chills.

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Silva Emerian Fresno Bee file

At 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2001 my husband and I boarded a plane to Fresno, my new home. I carried a suitcase in one hand and the top of our wedding cake wrapped in foil in a paper bag in my other hand.

Autumn is my favorite season. It is a time of transition, and it always has been.

It’s back to school season, when we shift gears from swim parties and beach getaways to homework and soccer games. We pack up our flip flops and T-shirts and pull out long sleeves and boots. Our iced drinks get replaced by piping hot ones. Pumpkin everything takes over.

But isn’t it also a time of personal reflection? Do you ever take the beginning of a new school year — even if you’re not in school anymore — as a chance to start fresh? To take inventory of where you are and where you want to be? To tackle those lingering projects and unfinished to-do lists?

As I look back on a sometimes-busy and sometimes-lazy summer, I remember my focus on my family and I’m happy about that. But when the kids go back to school and the weather starts to cool off, I redirect my thoughts to personal goals and the things I want to accomplish in the coming months.

Maybe it’s that writing project I put aside. Or the closet I promised myself I’d declutter. It could be my desire to take more walks now that it’s not triple-digits outside. Or the list of families I want to invite over since people are traveling less now than during the summer months.

Transitions can be difficult. Moving to Fresno was hard in a lot of ways. It took a lot of adjusting, some tears, and time. Eighteen years later, I can’t imagine what my life would be like outside Fresno. I don’t remember what it was like to shovel snow (and I don’t want to remember!). I’m so content here.

Doing hard things is not always fun, but it’s not impossible, either.

Transitions, and putting in the hard work throughout, often get you to a better place. The results can be so satisfying, whether they’re tangible (like an organized closet) or intangible (like a healthy marriage relationship).

Instead of tiptoeing in reluctantly, may this seasonal change — and whatever it brings with it — be something we jump into energetically. May this new season give us a boost in the right direction to improve our situations and relationships.

May we move forward confidently, pumpkin-spice latte in hand.

Silva Emerian is a freelance writer and editor, wife and mother to two active boys. She lives in Clovis. Connect:, on her blog, on Facebook and Instagram @onmyshoebox.