Savor of the season

Football season is our consolation gift for summer’s end.

Lazy, open-air passions of the hot season gently simmer down with crisper winds, crunchier leaves, and more measured days.

Football times this transition like nothing else. Players padded in every direction align in formation, the vanguard against the harshest unknown. As we civilians hunker down in jobs and courses and heated homes, the weekend ritual of the football game escorts us methodically toward winter.

Each week presents a new challenge, an open hope of progress. Sixty minutes only, do or die. We WANT to move forward. Will our team measure up? Or will time run out?

In football, traditions and past glories blanket fellow enthusiasts with spiritual support and hopeful purpose. Yet each new yard and catch and score must be earned, must be authentically real and live and now, urgently sought, reluctantly surrendered. And diligently recorded, remembered, rendered into the record. The permanent record.

Anything is possible, until it isn’t. On the threshold of a fan’s season, the ultimate triumph is a vicarious vision, a fluttering feeling, five months into the future.

As the weeks bear on, the sun gets sleepier, the trees barer, the rhythms more desperate, the snow deeper, the legs heavier, the days dimmer, the glimmer of opportunity ever narrower. Each encroaching weekend, anything is still possible, until it isn’t.

As ever, I fasten my football fanaticism on the orange and brown, colors of grounded memory, colors that enliven autumn’s essential energies.