Thursday, September 5, 2013

Candy Pumpkins, Sweaters and Leaves: Everything Falls into Place

“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile.”
                  ― William Cullen Bryant

Years ago, I lived with my then husband on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.   If you've never been, I strongly urge you to visit if you can because Hawaii truly is paradise.  My pace slowed there and the smile seemed to come to my lips even quicker.  The people I knew on Oahu were warm and engaging, just like the island itself.  I made friends and I managed to visit the ocean if only for a glance almost every single day.  I loved living in Hawaii with the fresh pineapple and the warm sunny days stretched into months and then, before I knew it, a couple of years passed.

But each autumn I spent on the island brought a twinge of sadness.  On Sunday mornings, I would peek through the window next to the front door of our town house and see a beautiful blue sky.  It was the kind of sky that should smell of crisp leaves and the teasing edge of winter.  As I opened my door to retrieve my Sunday paper, I would brace myself for the crisp air...only to breathe in the warm, fragrant smell of the island with a hint of sea salt and flowers.

Poor, deprived woman, you're probably thinking.  How it sucks for you that you had to endure two autumns in paradise.  

Please don't get me wrong.  I did love loving in paradise. But, autumn has its own brand of magic that you simply can't experience when it's 82 degrees and sunny.  Autumn, for me, is the beginning of a yearly renewal that concludes with spring.  It's the period of re-birth when the earth sheds its skin to languish through the winter for a vibrant "HooWAH!" in the spring.

Some amazing things happen in the fall.

  • School starts.  Who doesn't love a cornucopia of freshly sharpened pencils, new shoes, fresh sheets of notebook paper, clean erasers and the unblemished slate of a new beginning?  School starting is one of my favorite things about fall and the reason why I'm sometimes sad for year-round schoolers who will never associate the fall with their new pencil cases and lunch bags.
  • Candy pumpkins fill the shelves.  Well, they fill the shelves everywhere but HERE apparently.  I have the darnedest time finding these little sugary goodies.  Candy pumpkins are happiness in a bag.  I have an ongoing debate with several friends about the deliciousness of candy pumpkins vs. candy corn.  I'm not worried, though...they'll see the light soon enough.
  • Hot coffee is delicious all day long.  There is nothin' better than a steaming cup of joe when the air is crisp and the leaves are orange.  You can find me all through the fall with my fingers wrapped around a coffee cup hand warmer. 
  • Sweaters.  What could be cozier than some soft yarn stitched together to keep you warm?  Sweaters wrap you up in a knitted hug all day long.   
  • Boots.  Short boots, high boots, flat boots, heeled boots. Boots mean you don't have to ensure that your toes are painted or even that your socks match.  Boots are perfect for a hot mess like me.
  • The mornings are dark.  I love waking up in the fall before the time changes.  I greet the day in cozy darkness and I see the sun rise almost every single morning.
  • Backpacking and camping.  Get me outside in the fall. I want campfires and I want to sleep in a sleeping bag.  I want to wake up in the woods, make my coffee and fry bacon in the open air.
  • Halloween.  OK, I know some people have a problem with Halloween...but it is HANDS DOWN one of my favorite holidays.  I think this holiday alone is responsible for the fact that I've never quite become a real grown-up.  My costume selection process starts right about now...and I get to pretend to be a superhero or a cartoon character or a real b***ch or a very funny lady for a day.  Pretending is good for the skin, I think.
I am aware that now is the beginning of the autumn of life for me.  How SPECTACULAR!  I can only hope that I will blaze as bright as the maples over the coming years.  

You people can keep summer.  And spring has its own special joys.  Winter should exist only for two weeks in December.  But autumn?  Now, that's livin'.   It's just around the corner...and then I'll be able to say, "Happy fall, ya'll."

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