The Best Parts of Autumn

There is a stillness in the air now. You can smell it when the cigarette smoke lingers a bit longer around the woman on the bench. You can see it when you look at how the leaves overhead reflect on the lake in the morning glow. You feel it when you step outside, and there is no breeze, but the air for once feels refreshing. Now it is time for everything to taste like mulled wine, tart apple pie, spicy pumpkin bread, and fun-size chocolate pieces. You can hear it in the way that slow, acoustic ballads personify the best part of the year.

Today is the Autumn solstice, and it is finally my favorite time of the year. The apartment is full of pumpkin decor, I have stuffed the pantry full with pumpkin treats, and the sweaters have moved their way back to the center of my closet. Now when I go on walks, I reach for a flannel button up or a hoodie. I dusted off my doc martins, lit every candle in my apartment, and started saving all of the best hearty stew recipes I can find.

Like most autumns, I am unfortunately entering the year with an ailment—I rolled my already compromised ankle, and I find myself sporting a walking boot for the fourth year. But this year, the apartment is not only decorated with all the autumn decor I could find, but also a sweet little pup. Last week, my partner and I adopted Smudge, a one-year-old Bulldog Mix. The energy in the home feels different. There’s now a lightness and warmth to our home, the same way the sun illuminates a small section of the wood floor beneath my feet.

But unlike most autumns, travel bans make me wonder if my favorite activities are still possible. I’ve come to love stopping by a farm, going to a u-pick apple orchard, or wandering wide open fields filled with hundreds of pumpkins waiting to go home with you. There is nothing better than feeling the stillness that hangs upstate this time of year, watching how the forests burn with rich and firey colored leaves, and cozying up next to the ones you love. What is it that all of you look forward to this time of year?

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