I’ve heard it said that we Portlanders live for the three or four weeks of balmy sunshiney summer we eventually get around to in August. I suspect for many of us that’s true – only in Portland have I witnessed such a dramatic change in behavior due to sunshine. Suddenly, people are out everywhere doing everything and wearing very little. It’s neat to see (sometimes more neat than others), but the California kid in me gets bored with warm and sunny as quickly as my popsicle melts, and I find myself skulking around in the air conditioning waxing poetic about what’s coming next.
Because this Portlander? She lives for fall.
And fall is coming.
Isn’t that the best combination of words you’ve ever heard? No phrase is as sensorily evocative for me as “fall is coming.” A change in the wind, a chilly day, a grimace from a sane, warm-weather loving friend, and I’m in an altered state of giddy apple cider drunk anticipation. I can smell fall – cinnamon and woodsmoke, dried leaves and fresh pumpkin, wool and late tomatoes and bales of hay – number 2 pencils and new shoe leather and pure anticipation. I love it so much I write basically the same blog post every year in an attempt to convince you that you love it too.
By far the greatest thing about this coming darkness is the huddle. The days get shorter, the clothes get infinitely cuter, the air gets cooler, and people start to touch again. Suddenly, pairs walking on sidewalks will link arms to fend off the wind. Hands will be held, no longer sticky from sweaty afternoons and berries and cotton candy. Couples will creep to the same side of the bed again, after months of fan-assisted languishing on opposite ends of unbearably cozy mattresses. Dogs and cats will be invited back on to laps. Blankets will be shared. People will huddle. It’s the loveliest thing in the whole of the world.
This fall, I want you to live it – to smell it, taste it, embrace the heck out of everything and everyone. Engage in those nutty hayrides and silly rituals and that fabulous color palette. Plunge your hands ungloved into the ooze of gutted pumpkins – bake something that smells like home – spend hours marveling at the impossible many colors of leaves. Meditate on the folding phase of the seasonal cycle put in place by an infinitely creative and scandalously beautiful God. Cozy up to Him, cozy up to everywhere. Breathe deeply.