Fall Feelings. Two little words that carry a lot of weight, and are always on the very tip of my tongue.
Although it takes longer for those of us who live in the South to reach the fall months, if you ask me, it’s never too early to begin counting down the days to the arrival of fall feelings. As fall slowly makes its way home, year after year, fall feelings have a way of taking over my entire sense of being.
But, what are fall feelings?
While these “feelings” can be whatever you want them to be, and are yours to take and have your way with, here are a just a few of the many “feelings” that flood through my veins and my memory bank this time of year, signifying fall is near.
1. Layering Up
“I don’t mind the weather, I’ve got scarves and caps and sweaters.” Why, thank you Ben Gibbard for reminding me that I too have these remarkable sweaters you so melodically sing of. There’s something about being able to whimsically throw on a sweater and bust out the door with extra spring in your step without being drenched in sweat that feels downright delightful. So delightful you will most likely decide you want to walk or ride your bike to wherever you are going, rather than drive. For me, a cotton pullover sweater is the cozy ideal; however, the comfort and security that exists within the confines of a zip-up hoodie fall not too far behind. The magic is in the layers. Now, bring on the sweater weather, and cue the Death Cab for Cutie throwbacks.
2. Holding Hands
Generally speaking, I am far from a touchy, feely person, but there’s something that hand-holding offers, that nothing else can quite match. Be it holding hands while walking, staring up at the stars (cheesy I know), or riding bikes (this one gets a bit trickier), there’s something so earnest, genuine, and innocently intimate about this simple act. Truthfully I tend to gauge my interest in someone by my reaction the first time they grab my hands to hold tightly between their own, assessing both the energy and look in their eyes when they do so. True, holding hands is something that can be enjoyed at all times of the year, but frankly, I am not as much of a fan when it is 100+ degrees outside. Maybe that’s just me.
3. Changing Leaves
Various shades of bright red and orange leaves take me back to the many months of my childhood years that were spent on the Blue Ridge Parkway, watching the leaves fall softly, feeling them sweep across my face on their way to the ground. Each of these leaves had unique lines, a story, and a season, all worth taking notice of. While the turning of leaves may not mark the arrival of autumn in the sunshine state, elsewhere across the nation children begin jumping into leaf pile after leaf pile. Leaves that their parents so diligently raked. Although it may seem a bit less socially acceptable to jump in leaves as an adult, I fully support the notion. Step aside kids. Step aside.
4. Outdoor Adventures
Hiking up mountains. Biking down city streets. Running on trails. Jumping in rivers. Skipping through forests. Building forts in the backyard. Strolling down memory lane. Fall is the perfect season to revisit the great outdoors, and fall in love with it all over again, recognizing the details that tend to go overlooked amidst the daily hustle, and when you have a windowpane blocking your view. It’s also the perfect time of year to get out of your current geographic area and visit someone near and dear to you who resides in another one. Take a train. Take a plane. Take whatever you need with you, and leave the rest behind. Just be sure to take your spirit of adventure.
5. Warm Coffee [Latte/Tea/Hot Chocolate/Beverage of Choice]
Be it whiskey for the common cold, soothing mint tea, a mug of hot cocoa, or a cup of apple cider, there’s nothing quite like sipping on something that has the ability to warm you up from the inside out. Something about it just screams fall. My personal favorite fall beverage happens to be “Vin Chaud,” first sampled at the Christmas market on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Although this hot, mulled wine with a cinnamon kick, takes me through a tunnel of European nostalgia each time I take a sip, it is just as delightful to make and enjoy in the comfort of home. No matter what your beverage of choice may be, time stands still when you grab a cup of whatever it is and just let yourself sit, converse and enjoy the presence of others and bask in the shared warmth of the season, rather than checking the time and worrying about where you have to be next. Sit, sip and let it be.
6. Pumpkin Carving
Each year as Halloween approaches, my balcony overflows with some of my closest friends double fisting wine glasses and knives, in the spirit of pumpkin carving of course. The evening is topped off with special order party trays filled with vegan dumplings and vegan buffalo wings. It’s pretty much as dangerously intense and nutty as it sounds. While it saddens me to say that several of those nearest and dearest to me are now spread about various parts of the country this calendar year, the porch pumpkin carving party will live on in their honor. It just has to. Following this annual pumpkin carving social extravaganza,is the pumpkin carving tradition I share with my dad. It’s something we have shared since I could barely lift a pumpkin, much less carve one, and it’s something I eagerly await each year. Having him help me outline a design, cut, and then scoop out the seeds makes me feel like daddy’s little girl all over again. This irreplaceable feeling is one that I continue to hold onto the entire year through until the next.
7. Power of Friendship
While the power of friendship is a year round affair, there is something about fall that fills me with the overwhelming urge, no matter what I am doing, to grab my friends and family and hold onto them extra tightly. Fall makes me want to run, jump and experience as much as I can with those I care about. It’s so easy to get tied down with the mundane in life. The day-to-day tasks we convince ourselves to be so important. The ones that take us away from living and being in the moment, and fostering meaningful, and irreplaceable relationships with our friends and family. Let’s face it, without the power of friendship, there would still be fall, be there would be far too few feelings.