Fall is definitely a close second to winter on my list of favorite seasons; it’s finally comfortable enough to wear a sweater, the days get shorter, I don’t feel the need to douse myself in ice every half hour. Being in New York City and experiencing (what feels like) an eternal summer, I’ve been thinking of small details that remind me of autumn and are keeping me excited for the hopeful arrival of the season.
I’ve written down some smells and feelings that always bring a wave of nostalgia and put me right in the heart of memories growing up.
PUMPKIN APPLE SCENTED CANDLES
Sitting at the dining room table in my house, doing schoolwork for tomorrow. I’m in middle school, stressing out over impossible math homework and wishing I was Gmail Instant Messaging with my friends, talking about the newest Twilight trailer. My mom is making dinner in the kitchen while the sun is disappearing; sunlight is becoming scarcer and winter is hanging in the air. “Jazz Ain’t Nothin’ But Soul” is echoing through the house and Channel 4 News is starting in the living room.
It’s 7:30AM, my sister and I are walking down the driveway in our matching school uniforms. We’ve been doing this for so long that we’re able to put an ear out the door and listen for our bus coming around the corner; the screeching tires and familiar “puff” of exhaust can be heard from around the block. We walk swiftly across the street, onto the bus, and take our seat together: 4 rows behind the driver, right side of the bus, so we can wave goodbye to our mom while we drive away.
Years later, we’re still shuffling down the driveway to school together. I walk outside and throw my bags in the backseat of the truck while my sister rushes out the door, unenthused for the start of the new school year. She gets in the passenger seat and I speed in reverse down the driveway; like most days, we’re choosing to be fashionably late. We wave goodbye to my mom and dog in the window.
HOT APPLE CIDER
I drive to Erin’s house and pick her up, traveling 20 minutes to the closest Starbucks and getting hot apple ciders in deep orange, fall-themed cups. We’re 16, newly licensed and happy to have the freedom to go anywhere when we’re together. We sit in the coffee shop, talking about films we wanted to see, friends we haven’t talked to in a while, and past memories that will always make us laugh, even to this day. Other times we’ll get our drinks and drive to the park, walking the familiar path through the forest we would walk at 13 years old, with slushies we bought from the corner store and a different flavored Hershey bars we can split.
It’s mid-October, just past noon on a weekend and everyone in my family is at my Grandpa’s house. Breaking ourselves off into organized groups, cousins, aunts and uncles take a section of the one-acre yard and starts raking leaves. Groups composed of two rakers and a bag-holder rake back the red and orange, freshly fallen leaves, to expose the dead, wet leaves that had the misfortune of falling before their peak time. Somehow, always after a shorter amount of time than we plan for, the yard sports it’s original green lawn and all of us, cold and tired, go inside the familiar house we’ve all grown up in, for tea, homemade soup and the end of the Bills game.
My family is in the Adirondacks for the weekend. We might have skipped school on Friday to drive down, a rare occurrence that elated my sister and I. We have a two story house, my sister and I sharing a room with wooden beams in the ceiling and a reading nook. My parents have a balcony in their room, looking out to the woods, that we sit on and look for deer. The whole town smells like freshly burned wood; it could be from people sitting out in their backyards socializing over a fire pit or filtering through a chimney, a fire burning slowly in the background of a family’s evening. We go on a walk around the lake, running down the wooden dock to the gazebo we always take pictures on, sit around the built-in fireplace and carve our names in the floorboards. Our friends are far away, we aren’t checking a computer in our pocket, and we share the radio singing along to our favorite songs, with James Taylor always coming in first place.
While searching for pictures to pair with this post I realize how little autumnal pictures I have; definitely something to work on this year. Some of these are pictures and others are screenshots from video I shot.
I’m going to try to stick to a weekly upload schedule. Someone please hold me to it.