Falling for Autumn

MA Pioneer Valley

Yesterday I drove to South Hadley for a massage. It’s about a 20-minute ride, door to door with little traffic, even during the time on Highway 391. Fall is moving in, here in western Massachusetts, softening the light, muting the colors and, on a clear, sunny day like yesterday, making any ride a “Pinch me, I live here!” experience. There were wonderful punctuations, like the Van Gogh, midnight blue water of a river I crossed and the occasional shock of a leaf-turned tree, so intense in color it seemed otherworldly. At a certain point, the cars I drove behind created a gentle dust up from the pavement to about ten feet in the air; yellow leaves the size of silver dollars spiraled in a delightful dance, reminding me of Colorado’s amazing Aspens.

I can see why this is the favored season for so many who live here, especially during years like this one, when the warm weather returns for an encore. The renewal and bursting blossoms have long made me a “Spring Girl,” especially since I grew up in The Garden State, where the abundance of flowering trees, bulb plants and perennials is unparalleled. Being a true Aries, I love the idea of a new beginning; I suffer through those weeks in May that lead up to throwing off my layers of clothing to play freely outside.

As she worked the tension out my muscles yesterday, my masseuse explained that pulling on her socks and boots was why she loved Autumn. Although I couldn’t completely agree, we did see eye to eye on the colors and textures, the rich, warming soups and the scents of bread and wood fire that this season brings. I confess, “cozy” is one of my favorite words and yes, the cooler weather makes sweaters and sofa blankets wonderful comforters.

On the drive home, I realized why I’m enjoying this season like never before. Instead of thinking “Winter’s coming soon,” I’m living in each moment, another silver lining, another wish fulfilled since I survived cancer last year. How grateful I am for being given another year of this life! With the wonder and curiosity of a child, I’m taking each sunrise, each blushing leaf and each sweet breath of crisp air at a time.