I love the earthy smell, the heaviness of the air right before it rains. I love the clouds, moody and blackening as they unfurl, ushered by wind and suspended above the earth on strings. And I love putting in my earphones and blocking out the rest of the world, just so I can watch the raindrops race each other down the length of my window.
I love the salty crunch of a pumpkin seed on my tongue, white and warm and savory from baking in the oven.
I love the rustle of the leaves, the crackle of flames, the hiss of sparks as they fly up into the air to join the stars and the airplanes and the rocket ships and the last of summer’s fireflies.
Evanston comes to life this time of year, all the students running around the sidewalks and cheering on the football team. I’m not a student anymore. But even though I’ll probably never go to school again, I will always love the smell of ink and new notebooks.
I love how trees look older. Everything looks a thousand years old in the fall, and better for it.
I love the crowds at the cider mills in Michigan, buzzing around the vendors in the parking lot and tasting everything they can–the sweetness of apple butter, sticky honey, pumpkin pie. The cinnamon-sugar from their doughnuts dusts their fingertips, and they’re licked clean, every time.
I love seeing the Canadian geese fly in a V over the sky, off South toward lovely Mexico. Or wherever it is that they go, honking and hollering.
I love the gloosh of raw pumpkin in my hands when I carve them out. I love the way that the candles glow from inside them.
I love heavy sweaters that smell like wood smoke and sheep’s wool and wind, a good pair of brown leather boots that look as though they’ve traveled farther than you have. I love scarves–all kinds of scarves. I love tartan plaids and thick brown socks. I love that you can walk outside without fear of stifling heat or bitter cold, that your hands feel a little cooler, that your cheeks blush a little redder.
I love that all the fairy tales feel a little bit more true.
I especially love boiling my own mulled cider, stirring in the apple juice, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and a little bit of orange zest. It’s best-served late at night, after everyone has gone to bed, and you can just sit in a comfy chair somewhere and read a thick book or stare at a wall or something–honestly, the world seems a little less complicated and troublesome when you have a steaming mug of cider in your belly.
I love the blinding brightness of the October sunset in an orange sky.
And after the sun has gone, I love the way the moon in the sky is yellow and close and full and somehow everything feels a little bit more like magic–like spirits and angels and fair folk and God could all be standing right there with you, looking up at her with the same eyes of wonder while she beams before a hundred-million stars.
I love seeing family for that first time since summer–everyone’s put on a little weight from the Halloween candy, but they don’t seem any less happy for it. They look lovely and full and warm. At least you know everyone’s been eating at home.
I love Thanksgiving.
But more than that I love giving thanks, holding hands around a table in the kitchen with all the people you love, and just saying it together–thank you. Because we’re acknowledging the gifts we’ve been given, great and small, hard and holy, precious. We’re acknowledging He who has given it all. It’s true communion.
I love red. Orange. Yellow. Brown, maroon, plum, sage, cream, navy, carnelian, dandelion, berry, wine, moss, forest green, sable, smoke. Gold. All of them, everywhere, painting the hills and the mountains and the coasts and the plains like the inside of a treasure chest.
I love the mystery of it all.
I so dearly love that the earth shows us her most glorious, bountiful beauty and then gives it all up so that the snow may stake its claim. This season teaches us that we, too, must let our beautiful things die, without guarantee that they will come back to us. After all, nothing in this life is permanent, because nothing was meant to be. There is darkness.
But there has to be death in order for new life to come again–and in the autumn, we are called to remember this.
It’s a miracle, really.