11/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Autumn's First Kiss: a Wake-up Call Or a Sweet Fragrance?

The change of seasons has brought a bounty of smart writing to Women's Voices for Change. Below are some thoughts from two of our top writers, who can't decide whether to grieve summer or savor the burst of fall energy. Diane Vacca taught medieval literature, Spanish and Italian at several universities before becoming a journalist with specialties in politics, the arts and New York City; Ainslie Jones Uhl, a freelance writer/editor and photographer, holds both B.A. in English from Sweet Briar College and a Master of International Business from the University of South Carolina. A native North Carolinian and former New Yorker, Ainslie relocated last year to San Diego, Calif.

Diane Vacca: Labor Day is a bittersweet time: Janus-like, the end of summer and the start of the academic year have me looking forward and back at the same time.

I don't want summer to end-- night falls sooner and cooler, a sure harbinger of cold, dark winter nights to come, when green turns dry and brown, its life drained into the earth. I know I'll miss the fecklessness of walking out lightly clad and unencumbered, my toes unfettered in open sandals. No matter how gorgeous and gaudy nature's last hurrah, the falling leaves spell the end of another year, a fluttering dissolution of summer's vigor, the inexorable mortality of all living things.

But with the first crisp autumnal day, when the sky -- liberated at last from its hazy, humid prison ---forms a vast, azure bowl over my head, when the refreshing cool invites the embrace of soft wool and the fireplace beckons....


Ainslie Jones Uhl: The basil and I become survivalists about this time every year, struggling and striving to reach a common goal: making it past Labor Day.

My whole being is on August autopilot, making sure that each of my offspring is well-equipped physically, emotionally and materially for a new school year....

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