Next week it will officially be autumn.
The days here are still oddly sticky, warming in the late afternoon in that Oregon way that I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to, but the mornings are arriving with the tiniest suggestion of a chill, a whisper that yes, fall is coming. I am beside myself with anticipation.
One of the many perils of the hopelessly romantic is our ability to become madly, passionately enamored of things like flowers and oceans and entire seasons. But seriously, is anything better than fall? I’d have never guessed I could love a time of year as fiercely as I love fall in the Pacific Northwest. There is a part of my soul that lives only in smoke spirals snaking out of chimneys and the bitter softness of wool on the skin of my neck, and it stumbles out of hibernation in the early days of September, squinting in the light and quivering with the sheer fantasticness of it all – months of uninterrupted loveliness, color, joy.
I grew up in a place where it was perpetually spring – consistently somewhere between warmish and too warm with a smattering of rain and a month or two of summer heat tossed in for good measure. I loved autumn then, but not with the distracting fervor with which I crave it here. Because here, here there are leaves and fabulously unexpected shivery breezes. Here, hats and scarves and gloves begin to sheath the hurrying bodies on sidewalks, gift wrapping the city in handknits and coziness and fuzz. Here the seasonal totems are abundant and unmissable – pumpkins growing in yards, turkeys running wild through my family’s pastures, Christmas trees lined up on the sides of the highway. Here people will begin to stand closer together, will let the light of the coming holidays begin to ignite them, will huddle for warmth and snuggle for the simple perfection that is being tangled up with loved ones as the world cools around them.
Autumn is coming, and I’m wishing you mugs filled with warm things, hands to hold, and cozy sweaters. I’m wishing you the smell of chimney smoke and harvest and rain and the time to recognize it. I’m wishing you sharpened pencils and apple cider and holiday kitsch. I’m wishing you the faith of children and the ability to see this season through their eyes. I’m wishing something deep within you to begin the celebration of gratitude, the spirit of giving, the desire for peace on earth. I’m wishing you people to love, and those who will love you. I’m wishing you autumn and magic and joy.