This I Believe | Autumn brings familiar feeling of warmth

November 16, 2013 

I believe in autumn days. I believe in all the cliches — pumpkin spice lattes and oversized sweaters and large piles of leaves. I believe in autumn for the changes it brings and all the traditions I eagerly await each year.

Autumn is the way I watch day by day as the leaves on the trees outside my window turn from verdant green to bright yellows, vibrant oranges and delirious reds like the landscape is a warm, crackling fire. It’s the crunch of the already-fallen leaves as I step through them. The air always smells fresh with the threat of winter and the wind is chilly as it whips past my face. There are days when the air is clean and bitter cold but the sun is warm like the last, lingering kiss of summer. The sky can be perfectly blue one day and filled with dark clouds the next. One week it may snow and the next it may rain and the next it may feel like we have bypassed winter entirely and spring is on its way.

To me, autumn is the craft show five minutes from my house that takes place every Labor Day weekend, where there is always a polka band playing and the smell of roasted pecans, almonds and peanuts in the air. Autumn is visiting an apple orchard with my parents, listening to my fall music playlist in the back seat and getting woozy on the road that curves sharply through the mountains on the way there. Autumn is bags of smooth apples to use in tarts and pies, and a gallon of cider to reheat on a cool, rainy day. When autumn comes, it brings apples, pumpkin pie and hot tea for me to taste.

Autumn is the songs on my playlist — the soft acoustics of guitar strings and the haunting melodies of a piano — that make me want nothing more than a fire to sit beside and a cup of tea pressed between my palms. I listen to the songs time and time again. Their lyrics are lullabies that leave me contented.

And autumn is the stories I write as time presses onward to winter. The challenge of dodging classes and homework in order to write feels real and right and true. As the night comes earlier and earlier, the darkness transports me to far off places in my imagination. Beneath my fingertips, I weave my stories bit by bit.

Autumn makes me feel at home like no other season can, calling me back to fond memories of autumns past. Each year, the cold beckons me indoors to spend a lazy day wrapped in blankets while I read a book or gossip with my mother, The last vestiges of warmth pull me outside to enjoy small traditions — craft shows and apple orchards and long walks in the woods.

And that is what I love the most — the tradition of the season, the predictability of it, the way it plays over again each year like an old, familiar song on repeat. I believe in autumn days.

Tara Fritz lives in Johnstown. Her essay aired Thursday on WPSU.

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