My insides tend to drop a little when summer comes to an end. It’s a symptom of living in New England. I know what’s coming. Fall arrives and dread ensues. This year though, we’ve had a warm autumn, so my seasonal adjustment occurred later than usual. I threw on my lined jacket for the first time last week; grateful for the leather gloves stuffed in the pockets from last spring.
Something clicked though, at 4:17 pm on Saturday afternoon, at which point the house smelled like cinnamon and cloves from the pumpkin bread I’d baked to freeze for Thanksgiving. My hands were stiff from Murphy-Oil-Soaping the kitchen cupboards. Beef stew simmered on the stove top. My husband entered the kitchen after a day of raking, carrying in the aroma of fresh air and pine, mulched needles and composting leaves. He crumpled paper, laid kindling and lit a match. A puff of smoke billowed from the fireplace before the draft inhaled the smoke upward.
At that exact moment, like a picture in time lapse photography, I transitioned from summer to fall, from afternoons plowing through glimmering water on a following sea, to bone deep warmth delivered by seasoned logs popping on a cast-iron grate.
It’s so hard to relinquish summer. It takes me weeks to let it go, to settle into long hours cooking in the kitchen, afternoon sunsets, earthy red wines alongside dishes of thickened stew. The missing piece though, arrives with fire—hot embers wrapping me in cashmere heat, offering me permission to tuck myself inside.