Fall’s my favorite season, with its changing colors and crisp air and first savory stockpot of Cincinnati chili. If seasons were a family, fall would be the mother shooing in her children to come inside before it gets dark – dinner’s ready, and don’t forget your jacket! It’s a season where we celebrate intentional change – the sharpening of our #2 pencils, the raking of fiery orange leaves, the feathering of our home’s nest as we prepare for a long, quiet winter.
It’s also the season of my favorite annual festival and look, here I go again talking about another festival. But this one, it’s just magical. There’s this smell that hits you the moment you enter the wooded area, and it conjures up a thousand memories that you never realized you stored – memories of your grandmother’s apple crisp and your neighbor’s midnight bonfire and your father’s leather belt and your elementary school’s woodshop – everything swirling together in a parade of sights and sounds and smells and experiences.
There are banjos and pioneer aprons and cider and gourds and haystack mazes and dumplings and artifacts from years past – all hidden under a canopy of forest and community. It’s just… it’s amazing.
It was cold and windy and wet and rainy this year, and Ken and I’d stacked every excuse to skip. But it’s the smell that beckons me; I need it for another year. I need it to mark another mile on our journey; to celebrate another season passed. It whips me into the present, straight into the realization that the life train doesn’t stop moving until it stops moving, and then we have to get off.
I continually have to resist the temptation to cling too tightly to this family, to this life. It’s one of the best things I’ve known, but the truth is, the best is yet to come. There is more waiting beyond the turning of the leaves and the shortening of the days and the bubbling of the chili.
But it can wait. Because right now, we have this very moment. We have now. We have each other. We have today.