Fall is my favourite time of year. Once again I get to snuggle up with blankets, warm pajamas and sweaters, hot drinks, and socks. The night air blowing through our bedroom window is cold and makes my nose tingle above the quilt. The leaves have begun changing colour and there are splashes of red on the big maple tree, as if someone had flicked a paintbrush in the tree’s general direction. Within a few weeks, all the trees will be blazing with colour, though over here on the Huron coast it’s nothing compared to where I grew up in Muskoka. That’s where people travel to see the leaves. You get entire vistas of brilliant colour, the hills steeped in intense and vivid reds, oranges, golds, and yellows.
Because I spent so many years starting school in September, fall symbolizes new and fresh beginnings for me, far more so than the start of a new year. September is when I always had new clothes, fresh notebooks, a fine collection of functional pens, a clean backpack, nicely packed lunches, new books whose spines cracked deliciously as I opened them up. I always feel exuberant in the fall, full of anticipation for the school year, perhaps mildly (or wildly?) overambitious.
I think back to September of 2008, my third year of university. I was living in Toronto when I decided to tackle a six-course load (five courses was considered a full load), work two jobs, and resume violin lessons with a renowned teacher (requiring a minimum of 1.5 hours practicing daily). I was energized by my packed schedule, which hardly left room to sleep. I blazed through September, started to get tired in October, and crashed in November. You see, September is when I have the courage, or insanity, to implement all the crazy ideas I get.
I love fall food, reflected in the changes in our CSA share. We’re getting more potatoes, carrots, onions, and dark leafy greens. I’m instinctively drawn toward roasts and braising cuts at the butcher shop, and last weekend the house was infused with the divine aroma of pork roasting in a smoky, rib-like sauce. We ate it over polenta, after returning from an outing to the local apple farm where the boys helped fill a bag with crispy Ginger Golds before racing around the mini cornfield maze.
The urge to walk hits me hard in the fall. Suddenly I look for opportunities to get on the trail several times a week, even if it just means inching along while the boys explore every rock, stick, and leaf along the way. Yesterday when A. was at school, I strapped L. into the backpack and took off with a friend for an energetic, soul-reviving walk through the forest, then back along the beach. Lake Huron was roaring authoritatively, turquoise water crashing magnificently against the white sand. I never tire of living here, of being surrounded by such beauty.
I’m especially excited about this fall because a dream of mine will come true. I’ve always romanticized “Paris in the fall,” far more than the usual “Paris in the spring” that everyone else seems to go wild for. And now I’ll get to see it for myself, when Jason and I go for a full week in October, without kids! To say I’m excited is an understatement.
I’m especially happy this morning because it’s my one day off per week. The bigger child will be at school and the littler one will be at nursery school. I will have 2.25 hours completely alone. It may not seem like much, but after spending four years raising kids full time, time alone is always a gift from heaven!