This morning, I woke up and I’m not sure if it was the (kind of) cooler weather we have had for the last two days, or the ancient tree outside of my window making its leaves do shadow dances on my closet door… but something flipped a switch and now I can’t flip it back. It seems like it happens earlier and earlier every year, and I just can’t stop it.
If you know me well, or have been around me for a few years during the fall season and the months that follow…you know that I come alive during the colder months. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember, so I can confidently say that I’m not one of those “pumpkin spice latte girls” that have somehow become a thing. I’m really not even that jazzed about pumpkin spice flavoring, thank you very much.
My soul is fed by all things autumn. I live for the chilly mornings, and the changing leaves. I have the most beautiful memories of my dad dropping me off at my mom’s house after school, where she would be baking up delicious goodies while the kitchen was filled with that late-afternoon, golden, autumn sunlight. I remember buying school supplies year after year, and appreciating that my parents would let me get Crayola, and never settle for RoseArt. I remember the vinyl Lisa Frank backpack, and the Dr. Seuss lunchbox. I remember the Arthur backpack, and the metal, Madeline lunchbox that I soon deemed too valuable to take to school, and opted to use it for art supplies at home instead. I remember that I had an icepack that looked like an Oreo cookie, and I hope that it’s somewhere in the back of my mom’s freezer. I remember looking outside my school window at around 2:00 p.m., and thinking that it would be much warmer than it had been in the morning, and that I was going to be hot in my sweatshirt while I waited outside for my mom to pick me up. I remember that my mom’s beef stew and her portobello mushroom soup warmed up any cold night. I remember stealing my mom’s socks, and never giving them back. I remember Pilgrim and Indian day at school, and as offensive as it might be, we made shirts with fringe and beads. We had a feast, and colored pictures of Indian corn. I remember my mom carving the most elaborate Jack-o-Lanterns, and helping us be whoever we wanted to be for Halloween, no matter how much trouble it was. I remember the high school football games when I was a little girl, and the thrill of running around in the chilly night air with my friends. I remember going to the same football games in middle school, and sitting with my best friends who were in the band, and cheering them on during halftime, never actually paying attention to the game. I remember the nights spent in downtown Florence, always nesting in the same coffee shop, and then ending up at someone’s house for a movie. I remember the acoustic shows in said coffee shop, and I remember driving for hours, just enjoying the autumn air, soaking it all in and letting it fill me up. I remember having Iron and Wine, Death Cab for Cutie, Andrew Bird and The Decemberists on repeat. I remember sitting outside with my dad and stepmother, listening to them tell about their days, only going back inside when dinner was ready or when it was too chilly. I remember going to the arboretum in college, and feeling like I was getting a pretty adequate sampling of autumn’s colors. I remember learning to love football, and the high spirits that it brings. I remember walking through a pumpkin patch, where I was asked a very important question that I said “yes” to. I remember riding bikes on cold, empty beaches with my dad. I remember never wanting any autumn to end, even when I knew the joys that would come next. I remember all of it, from every year, and I’ve stitched it all on my heart like patches on a quilt.
It’s ninety degrees outside, and I’m writing this while I have a wicked sunburn. I know that we are still in the throes of a hot, hot summer. But, autumn is going to come soon enough, and I’m going to go ahead and start celebrating it.