It's probably no surprise to anyone by now that my favorite season is fall. I love everything about it: the crisp, cool air; the smell of damp, decaying leaves and wood stoves; the comfort in wearing cozy sweaters and scarves; school supplies, including bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils; and especially piping hot chai tea and pumpkin spice lattes.
After hurricane Earl this weekend, we got our first taste of fall-ish air here in New England, and I'm longing for the days to become permanently cooler and the leaves to begin turning beautiful shades of gold and orange. Summer was brutally hot and humid up here. I'm not a fan of the heat and humidity, but it was definitely better than the previous summer, which consisted mainly of rain.
Fall mornings have a specific smell up here that's difficult to describe. It's not earthy and damp like spring, not dry and frozen like winter, and not clean and dewy like summer, but more of a crisp, smoky smell. Fall is complete sensory overload. I love the flavors that are accompanied by the cooler weather and, even though it may sound crazy, I love the transition from the long, lanky days of summer to the shorter, brisker days of winter. For me, there's something so exciting about the sun setting earlier with that special slant that only comes about between September and October. I love stepping outside on a cool, fall evening and looking up at the stars, seeing Orion approaching for the winter.
One of my all time favorite books, Salem's Lot, by Stephen King has the best description of fall in New England that couldn't better describe my feelings:
When fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass ... it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
In the fall, night comes like this... The sun loses its thin grip on the air first, turning it cold, making it remember that winter is coming and winter will be long. Thin clouds form, and the shadows lengthen out. They have no breadth, as summer shadows have; there are no leaves on the trees or fat clouds in the sky to make them thick. They are gaunt, mean shadows that bite the ground like teeth.
There's something so comforting about fall (well, maybe not the whole biting shadows part in that quote). The clothing, the food, the cultural significance of the harvest. I really have to laugh at myself, though, because my favorite season, the season during which I feel the most mentally at peace with myself and others, is the season associated with impending death and decay. Go figure!
I have a lot of good intentions for this fall, but most of all, I'm going to make sure that I enjoy every last minute of it, because for the past few years, time has seemed to be flying by and I haven't had a chance to appreciate my surroundings as much as I often wish I could. The thermostat is still reading a warm 80 degrees this afternoon, which makes writing this post even more difficult and nagging. Dear Fall, I'm waiting...