I was just sitting here as Milo drifted off for his nap, and I got this joyous lift as I looked into his eyes. This will be his first fall, and he’s going to love it . . . because he loves everything. It’s awesome.
But I love this season, too. It’s my favorite by about a bazillion percent. (Yes, I know that percentage isn’t actually possible, but you know what I mean, right?) I love everything about autumn – the cooler temperatures, the change in the way the air feels, the colors of the leaves, and yes, of course, pumpkin spice (although even I will admit we’ve gone a bit too far these days).
But some of my biggest reasons for loving fall have to do with books and other wordish delights. Here’s my Top Ten Ways Fall Makes My Word-Nerd Heart Dance:
1. Hot mugs of beverage. Coffee. Tea. Hot chocolate. Hot Cider. Mulled wine. . . I could go on. These are best enjoyed, of course, with a book. . . on a porch on a fall afternoon.
2. The way the supernatural and magic are very close to the surface. Of course, this is because of Halloween and Christmas, but I love the way even impossible things seem more possible in these days. I’m thinking here of Sarah Addison Allen’s books and The Good Witch. But also of Sleepy Hollow (and Starrs’ Hollow – RORY and Jess forever) and a great Poe story. . . of this after-school movie where a room glowed red in a child’s home because it was haunted. (Anyone remember that circa 1985?)
3. Back to school. Apparently some people, my husband included, did not love back to school, but I, I still love it. School supplies mainly. All those pens and notebooks . . . Trapper Keepers! But also the first day jitters of new teachers and new routines. LOVE it.
4. Sweatshirts and sweaters. These may not seem particularly bookish, but just think about pulling on a big, warm sweater and grabbing that warm beverage to sit on that porch. My favorite sweater is a wool one of my mom’s. It’s that color brown that is almost green and has a front pocket where I can tuck my hands when I’m not holding that great novel. (Speaking of which, Tana French’s new one The Witch Elm comes out October 9, and I CANNOT WAIT!!)
5. Long walks. I am not a person built for heat, so in the summer, I tend to sequester myself in the air conditioning. Once the heat and humidity break, however, I’m always up for a good, long walk to clear my head, to ponder what I’m writing, to enjoy the fresh air. Throw in crunchy leaves, and I’m especially thrilled. This year, I so look forward to long, daily walks with Milo.
6. Pumpkins. I do enjoy a pumpkin spice latte, but more, I love the way pumpkins appear on front stoops and along the entrances to winding driveways. Pair them with mums, and I’m a happy girl. A hot drink, a warm sweater, a porch with pumpkins, and a book. Ahhh!
7. Early sunsets. This time of year, I love watching darkness crawl in earlier and earlier each evening, and likewise, I love the way the changing light makes these early sunsets more orange, somehow smokier. Darker evenings have always felt like prime reading time to me.
8. Wood smoke. Oh, goodness. This may be my favorite fall thing – the way bonfires blaze in cool air leaving the front half of you warm and the back half chilled; the taste of a marshmallow cooked on a crisp evening, the hint of smoke in the farmhouse when we light the wood stove for the first time, the crackle of a fireplace in a great book. (Wuthering Heights always comes to mind when I think of fireplaces. Perhaps that’s why it’s one of my favorite books of all time.)
9. Soft blankets. Hot drink, sweater, porch with pumpkins, soft blanket over my lap, and book. The scene grows richer as the temperatures grow cooler.
10. The Great Slowing. My way of being, on my best days, is slow and deliberate, and fall is a season of intention. Putting up the harvest (here on the farm, we’re down to okra, jalepenos, and pumpkins in the garden), preparing the house for winter, storing up food for the coldest days. Those are all things that speak to something deep in my spirit. Maybe I love this season so because it simply means I have more time to read now that farm work is slowing down.
Just writing this list gave me joy. . . and I cannot wait for that first crack of air cool enough for me to turn back around and get my cozy sweater when I take to the porch with a book*. Oh, autumn, I do love you.
Anything about fall you love, fellow word nerds?
*Right now, I’m reading Anne Bogel’s charming and winsome I’d Rather Be Reading. Might I suggest it as an ideal read for an autumn day?