Of all the falls
Of all the falls I’ve spent in the mid-Atlantic region, this one is my very favorite.
A nice, brisk fall is the thing I miss the most about growing up in New England. By the time I started school around Labor Day, the leaves would be drifting off the branches of the trees around my house. It would be cool enough to wear my new school clothing right away, and then that next weekend, my band friends and I could drink hot cocoa or apple cider during our halftime break at football games. The air smelled spicy in that decomposing-leaves way, and my mom cooked my favorite dinners again: chili, baked pasta, and beef stew. Oh, yes. Fall was the best.
And then I moved here for college and never left. Here, where Real Fall didn’t come until mid-October, if I was lucky. Until then, I would sweat to death for the entire month of September. I had to wear t-shirts and shorts to football games and put on sunscreen for afternoon kick-offs. No one wanted chili, and turning on the oven seemed absurd. Worst of all, the leaves didn’t change color and linger in blazing loveliness. No. Instead, they all conspired to jump off the trees within 2 days flat. I had to go from humid summer to desolate winter with no comforting, cozy transition between. I had accepted the fact that living in this area meant being surrounded by Eagles fans and with no hope of a decent bowl of clam chowder, but no Real Fall! It was not to be borne! Every fall, for the past 11 years, I complained. A lot.
But this year! Oh! So lovely! The brisk air came early, and the first morning that I could see my breath in a little puff, I sighed, “Yes!” The leaves have gradually changed color — as it should be — and now they are starting to litter the sidewalks in perfectly scuffable drifts. I’ve been able to wear tights on multiple occasions already, and our mulled cider candle fits right in. The sky has been clear and bright blue most days, and the light during my commutes is all copper and bronze and gold. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing not to love.
On Sunday, I got a chance to walk around Longwood for a bit, and it was another excellent fall morning. The gardens were practically empty, so I strolled unencumbered, snapping pictures, and relishing all of the fall awesomeness around me. The place was still and quiet, and nothing detracted from the blue of the sky and the warmth of the leaves. If I don’t get another real fall for another 12 years, these pictures should tide me over.
(Two minor quibbles, Longwood: the model train wasn’t running, and there were no pumpkins! I guess I just have to come back for the Chrysanthemum Festival.)