Across the country, fall begins to creep, soon to burst with its telltale phenomenal color. Starbucks is out with its signature fall drinks. Stores are displaying Halloween merchandise. Leaves are beginning to fall.
As I come home to Wyoming to launch my book, Tough Love: A Wyoming Childhood, I am overcome with nostalgia and awe, both at nature’s blazing show and at the little ways my parents have ushered this remarkable season into their own home, my childhood home.
I walk into a house where a wood stove has already kindled its first fire. The kitchen smells of warm pumpkin and spice in the wakes of burning candles. Fall decorations color every room: scarecrows and wagons and brown and orange figurines with straw hats, placemats shaped like maple leaves, Mom’s favorite. I am so overcome with gratitude – both for the opportunity to be back in my hometown and for the chance to experience this fall season that, now living in California, I so desperately miss – that I feel it in my chest. My throat nearly tightens at the sight of a Swedish aspen with leaves the color of fire. Because I am in love here. I miss the change of seasons so much.
As I prepare to share snippets of my own childhood here via book readings and writing workshops, I reflect on fall, the season I love so dearly. Here are 10 things to love about fall:
1) The brilliant color of the changing leaves
2) Crisp air, which, compared to summer’s heat and humidity, is somehow energizing and fresh.
3) The way a noticeable transition in season can spawn motivation to revisit goals or launch an inspirational transition in your own life.
4) The cozy comfort found in warmth: pulling out a sweatshirt that has sat on a shelf for months, rediscovering a trendy scarf, sitting by a wood-burning stove
5) Scented candles: pumpkin, apple crisp, cashmere woods. Warm aromas.
6) Favorite fall foods. At our house it’s homemade apple cider, sweet potatoes, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
7) Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks.
8) Football. Sunday nights. Monday nights. Thursday nights. (Although I have to admit, “Thursday night football” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Monday Night Football.”)
9) Rakes and piles of leaves to jump in. At my parent’s house in Wyoming, the back yard is THE grounds for this. And I happen to have a soon-to-be three-year-old who, assuming we can find a rake, might soon just find himself in leaf heaven.
10) Tradition and family. You know. Halloween. Thanksgiving. And all of the stories surrounding these days that over time will knit special memories.
What do you love about fall? What traditions surround your family this time of year?