Tag Archives: autumn

Brace Yourselves

Standard

Autumn is coming.

Autumn is coming and I am prepared.

All of my sweaters are condensed into one drawer. A pair of second-hand leather oxford shoes arrived in the mail today. My flannel shirts are hung in my closet with care. I’m knitting a long, warm scarf.

I bought one of those crazy Peruvian patchwork jackets for a fraction of its original cost because the zipper doesn’t zip. I’ve wanted one for years, but didn’t want to shell out the $40 to own one. This one is forest green and orange and pink and covered in vine-like embroidery and looks like fall itself and was only $8. It’s hanging by my door, begging to be worn on long walks and shuffles through heaps of crackling leaves. Who cares if it won’t zip? I never zip my jackets anyway, not unless it’s really cold.

My colorful clogs have been sitting in a bin by the door, waiting. Just waiting.

I’m born again every fall. I write more. I think more. I breathe more. I take more walks. I drink more coffee. I’m freer, wilder. I wear my hair down after months of doing everything in my power to keep it off of my neck. I can see everything more clearly.

Autumn gives me hope.

The air cleans itself up. The sky gets bluer. It’s harder to think about all the awful things going on in the world when it’s autumn.

Autumn has always been about fresh starts and new beginnings. Every school year starts in fall. Every new term starts with a new stack of books and new pens and pencils and notebooks. All those blank pages, so crisp and full of potential. All those heavy books, too thick to devour in one bite, that must be taken in piece by piece until they’re a part of you.

Autumn means new adventures. Although I’ve never done much traveling in Autumn (and I probably never will), my mind travels with a little help from a lot of books, and that is usually enough.

I love Autumn.

Which is why this unrelenting heat is unbearable on almost a spiritual level. It was 95 degrees outside today. Ninety-five. My soul is ready for bonfires and marshmallows and pumpkin spice lattes, and it’s 95 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

But I’m hopeful. It’s supposed to rain next week. Rain means a cold front. Rain means a change in pressure. Rain brings change. Rain brings the autumn.

And I’m ready.

Advertisements

October Fourth

Standard

October 4th hasn’t historically been a good day for me. I’m the kind of person who keeps track of days (I have a book full of them), and every time October 4th rolls around, I climb out of bed with a sense of foreboding. What will happen this year? I wonder.

My movements are slower on October 4th. I don’t guzzle my tea, I sip it, slowly, watching the leaves fall outside my window. I take my time with my hair. I choose to wear purple. Lots of purple. A whole dress of purple.

It hasn’t always been a day of rejoicing. For me, it’s a long day of remembering. October 4th was the first day of a long, long journey–a journey I thought I wouldn’t survive.

But today I thought, well, I have. I survived.

I went on a drive today and rolled the windows down–the windows, the sunroof, opening the space around me to feel the wind and sunshine on my face. The air had that smell–my favorite smell: clean, clear, chilled, a little smoky. I have good memories of that smell…and bad memories.

There were nights like tonight where that smell intensifies with the lower temperatures. Nights where I sat shivering from more than the cold, in company but so very alone. Nights where I’d look anywhere but forward, only to look up at the stars and think that surely they were accusing me of some crime, and the black spaces between them stretched wider like a mouth that was going to swallow me whole. October nights like that nearly spoiled for me the hopeful smell of autumn at its onset.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if October 4th never happened. What if nothing had occurred, and my brain would have no reason for remembering it, marking it invisibly on every calendar I will ever own.

As I drove around the town today, my hair lashing around my face, I realized that I hadn’t thought about it being October 4th until that moment. I hadn’t gone about my morning very slowly. I hadn’t thought to wear purple. Even when I thought about October 4th, my brain wasn’t assaulted by a flood of unwelcome flashbacks. I felt no fear, no sadness, but rather a strange peace, a sense of completion. As I walked under the stars tonight, feeling the first chills of autumn nights to come, I looked up, astonished to see the stars smiling down at me. It’s alright, they said, it’s over.

Because of October 4th, I am stronger. I am wiser. I am deeper. In spite of October 4th, I am loved. I am blessed. I am happy. I am free.

Let Them Eat Cake

Standard

If you are having a bad day, allow me to remind you that it is autumn. Hopefully you will feel better. Unless you hate autumn, in which case I’m sorry that you have led such a joyless existence.

Autumn means autumn desserts.

Autumn desserts are a Rambler family mainstay. We wait all year for an excuse to use up our hoarded cans of pumpkin and for all the many ways to dress a cup of sliced apples. Autumn means the house always smells of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Autumn also means we get a bit chunky. But that’s okay—sweaters were made for hiding love handles.

Today we indulged in our first autumnal dessert of the season. My honored mother made apple cake. Apple cake is the food of the gods. The inhabitants of Olympus lean down from their celestial chaise lounges for a whiff of the heavenly aromas wafting from my mother’s kitchen when she makes this stuff. Who would have thought that such lowly ingredients as sugar, butter, flour, and humble apples could combine so divinely? Every bite is a bite of autumn, with all its spice and simplicity and crispness. I will not divulge how many slices I consumed today—nor how many wedges were cut to “even up the edges” of the cake as it lay in its pan.

Yes. Autumn makes me rhapsodize about cake. Don’t judge—with how much eagerness did you drive out to fetch your first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks? Yes. Yes, that’s what I thought.

Autumn! It Is Autumn!

Standard

If you ever had a childhood, you probably watched cartoons and animated films. It’s likely that most of these cartoons were Disney products, since those tended to be the ones of the highest quality (and had the best marketing), but there have been a few put out by other animation studios that were of the same caliber. One such film is Thumbelina, an animated adaptation of the fairy tale by the same title, produced by 20th Century Fox in 1994.

Thumbelina is probably my favorite non-Disney animated film. The songs are excellent (it’s impossible not to like “Let Me Be Your Wings”), the animation is top-notch, and the story is about as emotionally believably as a fairy tale can get. It traces the story of a girl named Thumbelina, so named because she is as tall as a thumb. Her mother was childless and wanted a daughter very badly, so a fairy-godmother-figure gave her a magical seed. The seed grew into a flower, and when the flower opened, there was a tiny little girl hidden inside the petals—a fairy without wings. The years passed, the little girl grew up (as much as she can be said to grow up) to be very beautiful. Her beauty attracted the attention of a young frog, which fell in love with her and kidnapped her. The whole story traces her long journey back home, aided by a colorful cast of characters.

One such character is Jacquimo, the singing sparrow. He is probably the story’s most endearing character, since he is so instrumental in getting Thumbelina home, and has many memorable lines.

Every year, on the first day of fall, I think of this comical sparrow waking up in a pile of leaves, stunned by the sudden arrival of the new season. He looks past the fourth wall, exclaiming to the audience, “Autumn! It is Autumn!”

Today is the first day of fall. The sun shone differently today. The sky was bluer and crisp-looking, as though it had been washed of all the accumulated grunge of the summer and then ironed out and rehung above the clouds. The green of the leaves looked preemptively golden. The air felt newer today, and I knew for sure that fall is on its way.

Fall, and all the beautiful things that come with it.

Like that sparrow, I stepped out of my dorm and exclaimed in shock, “Autumn! It is Autumn!”

It’s finally here.  

Flight of Fiction (15a)

Standard

It was autumn in Berasia.

Kharador, the Golden City, was living up to its name as the trees shed their greenery for the rich yellow garments of fall. Smoke from the city’s chimneys mingled with the increasingly crisp air as its citizens traded their linens and cottons for wools. The Dogs roaming the streets wore thicker coats than summer would allow, and everywhere there was the spicy aroma of roasting apples.

It was the time of the banners. Blue and green banners, embroidered with the Golden Fox, fluttered from every arched window and lamppost and beneath every bridge and covered walkway. Little girls wore blue and green ribbons in their hair, giggling with excitement as they ran to the schoolhouses, beating their miniature tambourines, leading their Dogs by their leashes.

Up and down the street, stone-faced city guardsmen sat erect on their great grey Wolves which loped easily along the cobblestones, making the usual rounds. Even they wore green and blue armbands around their thick wrists. Steam puffed from the Wolves’ nostrils and over their great lolling tongues: clouds of warm mist in the chilly early morning air.

Blue and green and gold were everywhere.

Beyond the island city walls stretched the shimmering lake, which reflected the clean blue of the sky in the shards of its icy waters. The first of the ships were beginning to pull away from the city for the distant Berasian shore, their white sails fat in the steady breeze that ricocheted from the craggy city walls.

Within and without, the men and women of Kharador began the business of the autumn day, looking down at their hands or into the eyes of their neighbors, only looking up to check the placement of the sun or admire the fluttering banners glinting in its light.

They did not see the shadow running along the top of the turreted walls of their beloved city. The shadow whose dark hair streamed behind it as clouds of steam escaped from its lungs in the fiery exertion of an early morning run.

They did not see the Guardian. They never did.

(To my faithful readers: character scene requests? Who do you want more of–Nayr, Nacjar, Enilor, AIleen? Let me know in the comments. Thanks.)

Gourdness Gracious

Standard

It’s fall. Can I get an “amen?”

Thank you. There’s the introduction; now for the sermon.

Fall conjures up certain images in our minds. We see falling leaves, haystacks, people in scarves, steaming cups of coffee. Our noses catch whiffs of burning leaves and that nip in the air that’s never quite the same in any other season of the year. And, naturally, we’re looking forward to Thanksgiving time and all of the associated comfort food and joy.

And pumpkin. Pumpkin everything.

It seems that this year more than any other I’m noticing the prevalence of pumpkin-themed items. Pumpkin pie, of course, but then there’s pumpkin candles, pumpkin air freshener, and pumpkin car deodorizer, pumpkin lip balm. And everything is suddenly pumpkin flavored, from cookies to lattes. There’s pumpkin cream cheese and pumpkin muffins and pumpkin spice this, that, or the other.

It’s almost done too much. I’m waiting for pumpkin chocolate. Pumpkin-scented shoe inserts. Pumpkin deodorant. Pumpkin perfume already exists (I know because I own some). Pumpkin stationary. Pumpkin wine. Pumpkin-flavored cough drops. Pumpkin ink. Pumpkin soda. Pumpkin toilet paper. Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. It’s cliché, it’s annoying, it’s overdone, it’s—

Wait. What was that you said? Come again? Pumpkin doughnuts, you say? Dunkin’ Doughnuts pumpkin doughnuts?

…never mind. I take it all back. Pass the box and get me some coffee; I’m set until the eggnog hits the shelves.

Earl Grey Day

Standard

There is no better way to begin October than to spend the first day dodging raindrops. The first day of October should be the day you realize that boots are in fact a necessity. Scarves and sweaters become a wardrobe staple. And now your thermos serves not only as a tea-carrier but as a hand-warmer.

And, lo and behold, your breath comes in billows of fog that curl up to warm your nose before dissipating into the grey air. For a moment, you pretend to be a dragon. Admit it, you do.

 Some comment on the dreariness of the day, but my kindred spirits out there know the glory of a day of puddles and greyness and biting winds. The harder the wind tries to gnaw your nose off, the warmer it feels inside when you finally settle in for a cup of coffee and a book (even if it is that cement-block textbook for history class).

Today was an Earl Grey Day. Those are the days that herald the biting blue-sky days of early autumn, when gallivanting through crunchy leaf-piles becomes absolutely necessary. Those are chin-tucked-in-collar, hands-in-pockets, sweater-and-boots kinds of days. Earl Grey Days require tea, or soup, or possibly cake, just by way of celebration. They require fiddle tunes and soft piano; heavy blankets and a lackluster attitude about what your hair looks like. Earl Grey Days are heralds of happiness now and happiness to come when the sun finally comes out and the air is as crisp as the first bite of a granny smith.  

Thank heavens autumn is finally here.  

Image

Hoodie Weather

Standard

Fashion makes me laugh. Every time I see a magazine spread or an advertising slot that introduces the new, the exciting, the brand-named and celebrity-endorsed (with the subsequent scary price tag) I just laugh.

Here’s why. I see things that are insanely impractical; either that or horrifically uncomfortable. I see skinny pants, platform heels, pencil skirts, stilettos—all things restraining and tight and usually only look good on people who don’t eat. “New for Fall!” my foot.

Anybody who lives in an area like Anytown (i.e., anywhere where the seasons change) knows that the coming autumn brings a coming chill. We welcome nights that smell of burning leaves and the dying spice of summer. Nights that echo for the lack of cricket song. There are apple pies and leaf-raking and the sudden need to layer.

So when people advertise these cute but impractical skinny tweed skirts and pencil-thin corduroys, I laugh. I laugh because those who want to enjoy weather like this do so in well-worn jeans, comfy sweaters, and faded hoodies that win you over on the sole basis of their innate comfort. It’s hard to take a ramble through the autumn leaves in a pencil skirt and heels.

This, my friends, is hoodie weather.

Sure, I own one little black pencil skirt that I wear when I feel a preppie day coming on. But for the most part, I choose something that isn’t so uncomfortable that I can’t relax and enjoy the awesomeness of autumn.   

It Has Begun

Standard

This morning I went outside to take out the trash. Nothing remarkable about that, I promise you. But what was remarkable was what hit me once I opened the door.

Fall. Fall air. Full in the face. Dry, breathable, crackling, almost-autumn air.

Mornings like today’s remind me of just how wonderful living is.

For the rest of the day, I had an almost uncontrollable desire to knit. Fall makes me knittish. I decided my phone needs a sock.

Fall is tiptoeing in with her little moleskin shoes.

Granted, the rest of the week will be warm and probably muggy. That’s the way it rolls in Anytown. We get a taste of nice weather, then it’s muggy and miserable again for a few more weeks. But then there will be one rain, one little gust of wind, and Fall arrives in all of her glory.

Excuse me while I go put Bing Crosby’s “Autumn Leaves” on the phonograph and brew myself some Earl Grey…

Friday

Standard

Imagine the surprise of my comrades and me as we stepped from our dorms this morning and promptly turned on our heels, going in search of jackets and closed toed shoes. The sudden cold gave us a shock, considering here in Anytown we don’t usually get grey skies and biting winds until oh, say, January. And here it’s September, and we found ourselves hunting the backs of our closets for scarves and boots. Finally, after one of the longest and hottest summers I can recall, we felt a breath of fresh air.

Every year I look forward to this day the way five-year-olds look forward to Christmas. I watch the forecast starting at the end of August, looking for the first day where the high is no greater than 69 degrees. I organize my first-day-of-fall outfit, typically an autumnal-looking sweater and a long skirt made from material from the brown family. I hunt for a coordinating scarf and plan on wearing my hair up. I debate for fifteen minutes about whether to wear brown flats or brown boots. Somehow I doubt I will put more planning into my wedding garb than I will for my annual Autumn Outfit. Usually I don’t care a thing about fashion…but cold weather is worth dolling up for.

This year, however, Autumn caught me by surprise. Due to circumstances that none of you would find even remotely interesting, I found myself in a bit of a hurry this morning; so late and in such a hurry that I’m surprised I even remembered to wear clothes at all. So when a wall of cold air nearly shoved me backwards as I opened the dormitory door, I forced my sandal-footed, short-sleeved self to my 8 ‘o clock class anyway, shivering all the way.

But, oh, how I loved it! The grey skies, the bite in the breeze, the crackle of the first dead leaves, the sigh of relief that emanated from the ground around me as the earth itself welcomed the changing season. Sure, it’ll be back in the 80’s next week, and sure, I don’t have a decent sweater to my name at the moment since they’re all at home, but who cares? Today is a proud herald of many more wonderful Autumn days to come.