I’m lying awake, while the house is quiet and I have my thoughts to themselves. No phones, texts, and I’m ignoring my emails. Don’t you love stolen moments in your day? Two candles are burning and it reminds me of standing in the middle of the apple orchard’s store, the one I stumbled upon when I meant to go somewhere practical. And do you know, I picked the smallest apples to have on hand for a snack, plus a cherry pie and…a necklace. I couldn’t resist. We ate the cherry pie that night for dinner and then breakfast the next day, and I fingered the brass necklace. So boho. So gypsy. And those apples, the cherry pie and gypsy necklace made me so very happy on a sad weekend spent cleaning out a lifetime of treasures from my mother. In law. Because she felt like my mom at times. And we both miss her. Finding this little apple orchard made us feel like mom had just come home from an afternoon spent picking apples.
Then today, when I ran into the market I couldn’t keep my eyes from drifting over to the overly orange pumpkins. I’m going to buy more. And the apples. Oh, all the fresh apples, begging to be thrown into a pie or crisp for an afternoon snack! And so apples went into my basket. Shopping can be fun if you decide to splurge on something small while you tick off the items on your list. So I brought home a beautiful bouquet of blooms to brighten up our house at dusk. My splurge.
I’ve settled the flowers on my counter and the candles are burning low now. The names of the candles are just as delicious as their scent. Autumn Nights, Fresh Apple, Caramel Cottage or Winter Watch. I’m not ready for that winter one just yet, but I caress the names, picking out the ones that are snug and cozy. One Halloween years ago, when I was burning several of my favorite fall candles, a trick or treater told me how wonderful my house smelled. Actually several told me they could smell the harvest freshness of a just picked apple all the way up my driveway, and I smiled. Such a small thing, really.
Today I kept the back door open to bring in the sweet scent of scattering leaves and a…fire. I went upstairs and opened another window to capture this strange autumn warmth and again smelled… a fire. I don’t know what was burning but I prayed it would end. With this summery autumn lingering around, I embraced the low slant of the sun and the gentle breezes while I cleaned and worked on projects.
My mind wanders when I’m cleaning or sweeping or anything like that and I thought of long ago autumns when willow trees whispered and I stood underneath its boughs, almost hidden and a boy I liked, really liked a lot, touched my arm for some reason and told me how soft I felt. I woke up that day. In autumn under the willow tree.
I remember a Saturday so very long ago when I dusted my mom and dad’s room and for the very first time in my life I found fall. She stood in a copse of trees just outside our backyard and I glimpsed all the colors of autumn spilling over onto the grass. The sun brought out the reds, oranges and even the shy yellow leaves. I think I stood in my mom’s room for half an hour looking at fall for the first time ever. I can still smell the wax in my hand. I see the window, shades open wide in celebration. Until my mom asked me when did I plan on vacuuming. So autumn waited for me while I worked. My first autumn. When I was ten years old. It took me ten years to understand the beauty in something other than a gloriously warm and green and blue summer’s day.
I once made wreaths for a living and spent days on the floor assembling them laboriously by hand, while my girls watched me work. And one day I decided I absolutely needed dried hydrangeas for my autumn/winter wreaths. Except I didn’t have any growing in my garden. But… the neighbor just behind me had at least ten glorious hydrangea bushes growing behind his wall of evergreen trees. I didn’t know the man who lived there. But I did have a spry and quick little girl who helped me gather the blooms that decided to grace my side of the fence. Since that autumn, I have grown my own hydrangeas and hope a neighbor helps themselves to the blooms if they want them. If it would make their night just a little sweeter. Which reminds me…I have to go and get that sweet tea waiting for me. That’s pure happiness in one little glass. I hope your day is beautiful. And your night.