I live in a place that clings to Summer, where you can make it through an October morning with a light sweater. If you don’t study the world carefully you can be tricked into wearing a bikini until November.
I prefer to pretend that each month is behaving itself as it should. I buy pumpkins and make soup when it’s 90 degrees outside. I keep my eyes on the leaves and my nose in the air, waiting for the seasons to change. I know Fall is here because I can smell it. It smells like burning wood and Vicks Vapor Rub, decaying leaves and wet earth, coffee and untrustworthy people who try to talk you into watching Christmas movies in October.
The stomach flu struck this weekend. At two in the morning I was on my knees scrubbing, wondering why it always strikes after we have chili beans for dinner. C’est la vie.
We welcomed the first sickness of the season philosophically. I made chicken noodle soup for the healthy and the sick scattered Saltine crumbs all over the floor. We stayed in our pajamas and watched a lot of television. I rejoiced in the miracle that a squeeze of lemon juice does for chicken broth. It was almost like a vacation, but with vomit.
It was the first day in weeks that we didn’t go ANYWHERE. We missed soccer, there wasn’t carpool pickup, no bible study or play dates. There was just Home.
After this weekend, I think I can let Summer go and give Fall the big hug it deserves, sprinkled with cinnamon. I’ve stocked up on Saltines and play doh. We have freed our winter pajamas from their Tupperware tomb. My Pinterest board is starting to smell like butternut squash. Strange Amazon boxes are arriving at my doorstep, brown paper packages wrapped up in tape, hiding presents for the December tree.
Today it’s raining. Inside there’s a fire in the right place, coffee by my chair, and little children playing quietly with cars and legos. The dog is shedding. The hamster has built a nest for herself in her little green plastic hamster house. It might still be 80 degrees outside most days, but we know better. We’re wrapped up, wiping our noses in expectation and watching the leaves fall, each one a present, each one a tick-tock on Autumn’s clock.