It’s always been my time of year. I remember as a middle-schooler, when a teacher asked the class their favorite season, feeling astonished that every one of my peers didn’t say “autumn” (most, if I recall, favored summer). This time of year just suits me, somehow. I love how the year announces its departure in a blaze of glory. I love sharpened pencils and blank pages and the start of school, I love cool breezes and cardigan sweaters and wood-fires. I’ve never met a hot beverage I didn’t like. Our house is flowing with coffee and chai and cider and my end-of-summer cooking doldrums have been completely relieved with the delight of making soups and stews and roasts again.
This year my appreciation of the season’s beauties seems heightened–the colors of the leaves seem more vibrant, the aromas of apple cider and woodsmoke are even more comforting, the pumpkins and gourds are particularly gorgeous. Is it that we haven’t been in the home clime in autumn in so long? There were three years in England, where autumn, though beautiful, is just different. Pumpkins and woodsmoke were as scarce as turkeys and cider is always cold and alcoholic. Then last year we were traveling about, homeless, for the entire autumn. Now, briefly, we are settled and experiencing October as fully as possible. Can I just say, what a gift!
Perhaps it is particularly poignant because under it all I carry the consciousness that this is likely our last autumn in America for a very long time to come. I want to dive in and roll in it and get it stuck in my hair. I want to drag the children to orchards and woods and stuff them full of caramel apples and pumpkin bread and carrot soup. I want to pack a backpack and go hiking and camping with my husband somewhere amongst the leaves (He’ll be surprised to read that, seeing as walking to the mailbox wears me out and I’ve definitely reached the crazy rhinocerous stage of pregnancy, in which my behavior is, at best, puzzling . . .)
It is a gift. A reminder that, as a good friend has written above her door, Every day is a gift.