“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall”. These were the words of the famous writer, novelist, and playwright of the early 20th century, F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is most widely known as the author of The Great Gatsby.
Fitzgerald, whose full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, wrote about the excessive and flamboyant times of the 1920s. He traveled the world, landed in Hollywood, and struggled with the successes and challenges of his storied life. He died of alcoholism at the age of 44.
The Autumn of 2020 began this week, on Tuesday, September 22nd. In a year that has brought more turmoil and chaos than Fitzgerald could have imagined, we can only hope that his words ring true. We could certainly use a new start of this most challenging of years.
I have never quoted the author Nicholas Sparks before. He has written 23 New York Times best sellers. I have just read my first book written by him, Three Weeks with My Brother. In another book, At First Sight, Sparks wrote, “Just when you think it cannot get any worse, it can. Just when you think it cannot get any better, it can”.
In a year that has brought us the Coronavirus, school closures, millions out of work, and as of today 200,000 Americans dead, you might think it cannot get any worse. Then we have Hurricanes Laura and Sally, along with more than two dozen other named storms. While the southeast struggles with record rainfalls, the west deals with record drought and heat, not to mention historic fires.
Our nation has struggled throughout the Spring and Summer. We keep hoping the next week or month will bring relief. Of course, we have an unusually nasty election going into the Fall that is dividing friendships and families. The virus, the economy, the climate change, the tension throughout the world, all get swirled into a vortex of politics where truth and fiction become indistinguishable.
Just when you think it cannot get any worse, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies. Regardless of your politics, your thoughts about lifetime appointments weeks before an election, the Supreme Court in general, and the issues before the court specifically, the one thing that everyone can agree with is that things just got worse. Just what we need, another brutal and contentious debate.
Our country that already seems to be tearing itself apart, just had the scab ripped off one of our biggest wounds. This comes as one of the most divisive elections in our history is coming to an end. F. Scott Fitzgerald could not script a more fitting end to the horror film that is 2020.
Yet, the coolness of the evening nights, the breaking of the oppressive heat of the dog days, and the steady breezes that have blown from the north give some hope for better days ahead. There is indeed an early crispness in the air. Finally.
We should be so fortunate if the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nicholas Sparks, who could not be more different, are accurate. “Just when you think it cannot get better, it can”. “Life starts again in the Fall”.
Regardless of your politics, let us all hope for a new start and for things to get better.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org