From the very first chilly fall breeze in September, that's when I start to come alive. The second half of the year has always been my favorite. Sure, I enjoy a hot summer day, lying in the sun, like anyone else. But nothing truly beats a hot mug of apple cider, on a cold day, while watching the leaves fall.
And for me, every passing week it gets better and better.
I think it's because some of my best memories are from events that happened during this time of year. The first that comes to mind is the first Thanksgiving I spent in New York, watching the parade. My family woke up extra early to start the turkey and most of the trimmings, then we bundled up and took the train into NY for the day. It was gorgeous that day! Perfect blue sky, warm sun on your face, but that slight sting was in the air and you could see your breath when you spoke. Walking in the crowds was dizzying and fun, shopping in the boutiques and snacking on street vendor food was absolutely my 'new york minute'. We enjoyed the parade and then came home to a hot meal and a long nap.
Another memory that springs to mind is simplicity of just waiting for the bus.
Waking up on a cold Massachusetts morning, half motivated to go to school, feeling barely alive, until the front door opened and you were pushed out into the blast of cold air. That'll wake you up anytime. Making that walk to the bus stop, backpack slung over one shoulder, the concrete sidewalks littered with wet fallen leaves and that clean, cool smell that filled your lungs with every breath. The sky an ominous grey, made even darker by the unrisen sun. Hands shivering, face exposed to the elements, because once again I forgot gloves and a scarf. I think that's really why I took up smoking in my teens, I needed something to occupy my cold hands at the bus stop.
It's funny to me now to enjoy a similar morning from a different perspective. Instead of the child heading off to school, I'm the adult making the coffee, checking the news and weather report, starting on the days chores. The perspective has definitely changed, but that 'get up and start the day' attitude hasn't.
October is always fun for me. Watching my neighbors drag out their fall decorations, seeing the lumpy piles of pumpkins heaped in the storefronts, noticing the ever eye-catching orange and black decorations in windows and front yards. Who doesn't enjoy walking down the seasonal aisle of the grocery store this time of year, every shelf packed with giant, trick or treat sized bags of Almond Joys, Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups, M&M's, Candy Corn...the list goes on.
Then there's November...
The feeling of 'almost' is carried around with me those few short weeks. It's almost time to pick out a tree, almost time to start playing my christmas music, almost time to write out the holiday cards and make sugar cookies. Even now as an adult, this time of year has not lost its magic for me. In fact, I think it means more to me now than ever before, because now I have the honor and privledge of passing on that magic to someone else.
It starts for me on the night of Thanksgiving. Once the leftovers are packed into the fridge and the dishes are done, it's time for my pre-holiday-season tradtion of watching It's a Wonderful Life. Every year without fail I watch this movie and cry at the end when Harry proposes the toast: "To my big brother George, the richest man in town." And even though I have the DVD version of the movie which does allow me to watch it in color, I prefer to watch it in black and white. It's better that way.
Of course, if that didn't do it for me then the following day, Black Friday, would definitely remind me that the holiday season is here. I partook in the lunacy that is Black Friday for the first time last year. Let's just say I never feel the need to do that again...ever.
From here on out it's the holiday season for me! I play my James Taylor Christmas Album, watch A Christmas Carol, write out the christmas cards, enjoy finding and hiding presents for my husband and anticipate any falling snow we may get. That's the bummer of not living in Massachusetts this time of year, you're not guaranteed snow on Christmas.
What's more exciting about this coming holiday season is that not only do I get to share it with my husband, but we'll both be introducing it and our traditions to our little boy, Noah.
I'm so excited to instill the love of magic and imagination in him.