Today feels like the first true day of autumn. Outside, the air is brisk and crisp leaves are piling up by the shed, blanketing the garden, and skittering across the driveway. Last night, a round moon lit up a violet night, and at the hearth, we kindled the first fire of the season.
Two days from now is Halloween, and you’ll have the perfect opportunity to ask yourself a very important question: who am I going to be?
Autumn is beautiful because of its changes. The leaves perform the most spectacular transformation, fading from their summer emeralds to the pale flush of green tea. Gold gilds the edges, and soon the whole leaf is glowing. Some burn even brighter in sunset orange, persimmon, and burgundy. When they finally slip from the branches, they drift into piles like the pages of all the books we plan to read when it’s too cold to go outside.
People change in the fall, too. We reach for cardigans and socks, and, perhaps most wonderfully of all, scarves. A thick, warm scarf makes us feel prepared, looked after, and should you venture outside in boots, you may feel downright adventurous. We all become weathermen and start looking at clouds more carefully to find snow or fog. Our days become hot chocolate, coffee, and chai.
When the weather grows chilly, it makes me ask myself, “Where am I going? Will I go home where it’s warm? Where do I want to be right now more than anything?” I sometimes ask if I have enough books to read, but both my creaking shelf and I know the answer to that is always yes.
As the leaves change, I wonder what has changed about me. More than any other time of the year, when that first brisk zephyr teases me or I notice that first afternoon when the sun seems to be going to bed too early, I think about where I was the year before.
Last year, I was five days away from preparing to defend a book I wrote and trying to pretend it was cold outside my tiny Texas apartment. The year before that, I was crunching through red leaves, listening to the bells ringing in Oxford as I scuttled home from a tutorial.
In autumn, we celebrate harvest. As corn, apples, and pumpkins are brought in, we bring ourselves inside, too. We draw closer to other people as the holidays brighten our calendars, and seeing all that we have, we can be thankful for every thing, great or small.
So, regardless if a frost has gotten to you early this year or if you’re green well into November, I hope autumn finds you warm. Though the world might seem to be putting itself away, fall is not an ending. It’s a chance to read a book or write one, to warm your house with baking, to marathon your favorite show, to invite someone in for tea, and to finish a puzzle. It’s a chance to make changes of your own, whether big or small.
Who are you going to be?