A crisp whisper of cool sneaks into the the air each September, even here in Colorado, and my heart squeezes in delicious anticipation. Autumn slips through the gap under the front door, the perfect pause between a too hot summer and the heavy blanket of snow to come -- and in this pause I rejoice. Rotting apples beneath the trees, woodsmoke and fog, the mountains a dusky blue beyond. A pumpkin festival in October, the local Scottish Fair, bales of hay to spread on the garden beds... the kisses of fall bring me back to my self.
I remember one fall, a return to school. It would have been second grade or so, and even then my heart delighted at the cold morning. The mist on the metal playground structures, the dew on emerald grass in front of the tiny stone building that housed my school. Later, the first day of third grade, coming home on a rainy day to a pot of split pea soup with ham, and both my parents home. Now I know we had split pea because it was cheap, and Dad home for lack of a job, but at the time, I felt the safety of steamed windows and parents curious about my day.
Many autumns followed, punctuated by different schools and different versions of me. Freshman year of college, dressing in a batik skirt and long-sleeved blue shirt, perfect for fall but not for the reality of the unseasonal heat wave. The first fall in Colorado, when my now-husband began graduate school and I slowly lost my immense excitment about opening a massage practice. It was a fall of great hope and great failure. It was a time of learning to accept a new land, with shorter trees and dusty hills. O flearning to accept my weaknesses in the world.
This fall I feel the ghosts of all these past seasons, but a new excitment reigns. There is a new squeeze inside, not just from my heart, but my womb. This autumn I walk down the mulched paths of the garden and imagine the babe who will soon snuggle into a sling while I harvest fall vegetables. She kicks inside me, running out of room. Instead of the scent of new pencils, I breathe in newly laundered onesies. I face not just a year of new discoveries, and the promise of a Yuletide Break, but before me rests the anticipation of one person's entire life.
It is I who will cook soup for her, see her off to school, help her sew batik skirts. I know little about her, less than I will about her teachers each fall. I sense her headstrong and independent nature. I sense her psychic leanings. I suspect the ways she will teach and test me. But I have not yet beheld her outside the safe and steamy walls of my body.
I tell her about how beautiful the day is, clear and cool with the whisper of autumn. I tell her it is a good day to emerge, to taste this beautiful world for herself. But she waits. She knows the time. So I wait, and drink in the glory of the autumn sun.