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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

A breath of cool air might be enough to change our perspective

We haven’t officially changed seasons yet, but WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson senses a bit of fall in the air. In his "On My Mind" commentary, he talks about it being a beginning rather than an ending.

The thunder came through late Thursday night, and on the back side of the storm it was fall.

Not completely, of course. Not yet. We still have a few more weeks, here in the Carolinas, where you might walk out of the house and into the broiler. Ask anyone who goes to a noon football game in Columbia this time of year.

But the other night you could feel the cool gust cut into the swampy air, and maybe you started to think about digging out the sweaters and thick socks from the bin under the bed. There’s an old hoodie in there you probably should have gotten rid of years ago. Maybe it’s worth keeping for one more go-round.

When I was a kid, I dreaded the end of summer. I liked school, but school was no match for sleeping late, or watching the pretty girls at the beach, or playing basketball until dark, covered in Skin So Soft to keep the skeeters away. That lavender scent mixed with sweat is a potion I still smell in my memory.

September meant the end of all that. But as a grown man, especially as I get older, September feels more like a beginning. The steering wheel feels cool to the touch instead of burning your fingers. Saturday mornings are for apple picking or maybe a dove hunt, depending on your spiritual preference. Some days the sky turns a crystalline blue that never glows quite the same way the rest of the year.

Life is hard and sometimes it works best to take it in small chunks. Some days it’s all you can do to get from here to lunchtime, and from there to the end of the day. But it would also do us good to think of our life more seasonally, like the author of those lines from Ecclesiastes. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

We probably don’t give ourselves enough time to cycle through all the feelings we need to feel, or to take care of all the important things instead of just the urgent ones.

There’s something about those first fall days that slows time down, if you let it. The earth turns and tilts. The sun sets a minute or two earlier every day. Things change in ways we will never completely comprehend, much less control.

It’s good to be reminded that we are small parts of a much bigger universe. We don’t have to run so hot all the time. Let the fall breeze cool you down a little. Treasure the gift of fresh air.

Tommy Tomlinson’s "On My Mind" column runs Mondays on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.