I’d been driving home at the same time throughout this past week, but suddenly the last few days were different.
This was of course, due to the Autumnal Equinox. The “Fall back” time change. Suddenly, 5 o’clock dinner time felt like bed time and the drive home had a new, yet nostalgic cold feel to it. Gusts of wind blew piles of leaves across the road in front of my head lights. Winter is coming.
3 weeks ago, I did something I hadn’t done in 15 years (the fact that I am now at the point in my life where I can say that about something nearly sickens me). I raked a yard full of leaves, and then jumped into a ridiculously giant leaf pile. It was AMAZING. The leaves smelled just like they did when I was little and jumped into leaf piles like it was the purpose of my existence. Fresh and crisp. And now, the crisp is turning into a chill.
The first couple houses and small towns begin to decorate with garland and twinkle lights. Some people still have their Halloween décor displayed, unwilling to let go of Fall. The first snow dusting was last week, and Thanksgiving is still around the corner. But the stores have begun to play the holiday classics over their speakers and I feel I too have the same right. Especially this year.
This is the first time in 4 years I have been home for the entire 2nd half of the year. Fall and winter. Not just 7 days for the Christmas season, but every day from the first leaf fall to the first snowflake floating in the air. And IT IS WONDERFUL. I’m finally home.
I drove 3 hours north last week to visit my parents and little brother. This was the weekend I inherited my childhood, and great-grandmother’s Christmas decorations. This was the weekend I once again had one of those “out of body experiences” where I could see myself growing up. I remembered each ornament, each snow globe, each music box. The old-as-me cardboard boxes holding these memories have this musty scent of holiday cheer that brings me instantly back to the annual childhood moments when I placed the needle on the Bing Crosby Christmas album and started the turntable.
It was a part of my life I had left and longed to return to. The last 4 years in the Sunshine State has thrown so much at me….most of which I suppose I had really thrown at myself…but here I am, dream into reality, and still, months after returning to my “homeland”, I still sometimes wake up wondering how long until I have to catch a plane back down south.
I initially left just to run away. Then to change. And it ended up being so much more. Such an intense journey I never could have imagined. I look back and think, “What a peculiar dream that was! So detailed!”, only to eventually return to reality with the sinking, heart-wrenching feeling that it wasn’t a dream at all. It was life. Pure life.
And where do I go from here? What do I do with everything I hold in my heart?
I guess I let it out…and keep going.
This is usually the part of the year where people subconsciously “reward” themselves…less days of working out, more cookies and wine. Indulging in overindulgence. Happiness and wishes are bountiful. Of course, all of this can also bring forth the more-than-occasional holiday-induced-mental-breakdown, which is often cured with more cookies and more wine. And even less working out.
I’ve decided, this year (or the end of this year, rather) that I will start early. My New Years Resolutions will be perfected before the New Year. I have finally returned home, in time for the best part of the year. I keep getting this feeling something big is coming…something wonderful. Maybe it’s my confidence and determination, with a sprinkle of no more homesickness and a dash of holiday spirit. Maybe it’s naiveté.
But here I am. And everything will be awesome.