The Devil Winds of Fall


❝Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.❞

– Rumi


This quote feels like Fall to me, and today is the Fall Equinox: day and night are in balance, but that balance will give way to creeping darkness, to leaves that change and crisp and fall, to pumpkin spice and butternut squash and scary stories that pound the heart.

For me personally, it’s also a sorrowful time; my youngest brother and stepdad both died in October, a year apart. Even so, it remains my favorite time of year, maybe because sorrow and mourning are inherently part of Fall too. It is a time of harvest and decay, after all. A time to cull and reap and honor the Dead, to make room for new life that will later bloom when spring comes back around.

Ironically, I come alive during Fall. I’m invigorated by the wind – the Santa Ana winds are not just my favorite winds in all the world, they are for me the very feeling of Fall (and of the nostalgic saudade, my favorite word in all the world). These “devil winds” blow in fierce and hot, bringing wildfires and ashfall and eerie pink skies, a combination my mom always declared “earthquake weather,” even though the earthquakes never did seem to come.

Maybe she felt that way because when the Santa Anas blow, time and space become a liminal thing. You can feel how thin the veil between this world and whatever lies beyond it has become, like life has transformed into a magical realism tale and your favorite portal fantasy just might be impossibly true, if you can only find the entrance or the secret way through… or maybe it’s only ever been the sultry wind driving us to madness.

Magic or madness, either way I do so love the Fall!