Autumn makes me want to write. It makes me think of those long days spent in the corner seat of a warm, quiet coffee shop, watching rain tap against the window and listening to the sounds of steaming milk and tinkling espresso cups. It makes me want to take out a notebook and write — not type — everything that I normally let escape me by the end of the day. I imagine pulling the sleeves of my sweater down over my palms and burying my chin into my fluffy scarf, feeling warm against the occasional burst of cold that follows patrons in the door. I can close my eyes and see the way my coffee, with its little leaf drawn in milk in the center, is poured all the way up to the very edge of my mug, almost spilling over but never quite doing it.
It is a season where everything seems to be just on the brink of happening, where the chill feels like it might become unpleasant right until the moment where you step into a patch of sunlight. It is a season of not-quites and just-abouts, but when you look at the trees in their most pristine moment of red-gold-orange glory, there is something about it that is incredibly fulfilled. Though it brings with it the promise of increasingly unmanageable coldness, and the longest months of bare, twisted trees, it is the pause just before the leap where you realize how beautiful all the things are that you are about to lose. There is not a day that goes by in autumn where you don’t want to reach out and grab everything you are seeing, preserve the moments of grounded leaves blowing in the wind or the kind of sunny day that still requires you to wear a light jacket and scarf. You want to keep it, and you can’t, and maybe that’s the best part.
That sun is so perfect, the one that brings a distinct, almost prickly crispness to the 60 degrees that would feel muddy on a grayer day. When alternated with the classically-autumn days of sudden rain that feels at once thrilling and soothing, it becomes almost like a balm that you can feel taking care of your face when you step outside. That sun follows you around as you walk through the park, as you shop, as you go about your daily errands that in any other weather would feel somewhat oppressive. It contradicts all of the withering of the leaves and the dropping of the temperatures, as if to say, “There is always bit of summer that I will never let go of.”
Perhaps it is the summer that makes autumn so brilliantly refreshing. It accumulates on your skin with a thousand humid, thick afternoons, a kind of oil slick that you can’t wash off. The first day where you are obligated to wear a sweater, and can feel your boots clicking down the pavement, it’s as though a weight has been lifted from your body. The air is thinner, and you can finally breathe where you were once panting for oxygen.
It is the season where everyone falls in love, and not just with other people. It is the season where your surroundings all become a painting, something whose natural beauty you finally appreciate and understand in a way you never had before. You fall in love with the feeling of a knitted scarf against goosebumped skin. You fall in love with curling up under a blanket and holding a mug of cider with hands that just barely poke out from under the wool. You fall in love with the feeling of walking out the front door and being confronted with that clear, radiant, chilly autumn sun. You feel like the version of yourself you always love the most, the person who is not above getting excited about pumpkins or apples or decorating for Halloween. And it’s funny, too, because it is technically the season where everything is dying, and you somehow feel as though you are just now waking up.