Fall Is Not For Lattes


A photo of my gorgeous college campus last fall.

Every girl in college is excited about fall because “yay pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, and boots!” This isn’t to say I’m not excited about those things too, because I love me a chunky sweater and some tall boots (pumpkin spice lattes are another matter entirely — my taste buds are very friendly but do not wish to tango with pumpkin spice ever again), but it is to say that there are a lot more wonderful things about fall than sweaters.

This is my favorite season. How could you not want to spend every waking moment outside (or at least looking outside) in fall? Every breath you take is filled with the smell of earth, of leaves, of cold, and everywhere you look there’s a new color you’ve never seen before. The world has changed for us to simply look at. We’re always so preoccupied with doing, making but in fall, all you have to do is watch. These silent changes happen over night, and as you wake up, throwing open the curtains, the earth reveals a startlingly red tree that was yellow the night before, or a bare tree that was fully covered yesterday. Am I the only one who wishes I could be constantly awake in fall so I could see the changes happen slowly before my eyes?

The eye was never tired of gazing, night or day, in calm or storm, it suffered but one grief, and that was that it could not look always, but must close sometimes in sleep.Mark Twain, Roughing It.

I wonder if this is how it feels to be in love: to want to stare into your partner’s eyes and simply look, observe, because just their heartbeat, the fact that they’re alive, is enough. That’s what fall is. It’s the long moments of serenity you feel when you just watch something unfold and grow before you, attaining new levels of life right before your eyes.

Spring is a time of rebirth and growth, and fall is when everything shifts to sustain that life through hardship. It’s like a mother, who gets you ready for bed and kisses you goodnight before winter comes and covers you with its cold blanket. Fall is our protector, our guardian.

So breathe, because it’s fall, and fall smells like life.


Tom, Huck, and Cappy

I’ve been a pirate on an island with Tom and Huck, smuggled French Aristocrats with the Scarlet Pimpernel, jousted over a river with Friar Tuck and Robin Hood.

Whenever I see little islands in the middle of rivers or lakes, I tug my dad’s sleeve like a little kid and say, “That’s just like Tom and Huck’s island!” Y’all, I even named chipmunks in my yard after Robin Hood characters (Will Scarlet was my favorite).

But those experiences are not mine; they exist in the imaginations of authors past. I think that’s why I love writing; I’m constantly looking to create experiences like those in my own mind.

Anything that reminds me of childhood or wilderness reminds me of books. I can’t look at the Mississippi River without picturing a riverboat on it. It’s like my life and the fictional lives of every character I’ve ever encountered have blended together, and I really don’t mind at all. I have so many friends, and they’re all from so many places and backgrounds.

Traveling pulls them out of me, like they’ve been hiding in a cupboard, waiting for me to hop on a train and roll across the country.

I like that the term “train travel” reminds me of countless black and white movies: Marx Brothers Go West, The Song of the Thin Man, Sherlock Holmes, etc. I like that I have those references in my mind, that I can recall these films that most other people wouldn’t have ever heard of, much less watched over and over and over throughout childhood.

I’m on a train as I type this on my phone…what would Mark Twain think of that? He might be horrified, but he might also be excited that I’m using my phone to write, and not to fling little birds at green pigs.

I saw a lot of this country in the past few days. Glacier National Park, the Mississippi River (even Twain didn’t prepare me for how enormous it is), little baby towns on the edges of lakes, and a whole stretch of brown plains. We live on a gigantic continent, and I’m pretty stoked that I got to see a bunch of it, though I only got to see bits and pieces and I didn’t truly experience most of it.

But hey, maybe these memories can help me create my own characters. Until then, and even after, I’ll be hanging out with Tom, hustling people into whitewashing my fence for me.

Please excuse the fact that this post rambled on more than usual. I’ve been motion sick for the past 36 hours and am currently in a tunnel in Wisconsin. I love you, muffins!