When I was 18 I went to a little town in the Canadian Rockies during the fall, fell in-love and decided to stay for awhile. With crisp weather, the most awe-inspiring scenery and enough to keep me, my friends and my (rented) horse happy, I thought I’d never leave. There was a cosiness to putting on a heavy sweater in the morning before running off to the Chateau for breakfast and coffee with friends. The sun was always out which made being active easy and hitchhiking into the nearby town of Banff was possible.
However, winter came and I wasn’t quite prepared. Standing on the side of the road in -40C weather for a ride was no longer charming; hiking had stopped and ice climbing took its place but storing all that gear plus skis became hard in a room shared with two other girls. There was never enough coffee in the cafe and all I seemed to want to do was lounge by the fire or cosy up to my boyfriend. Although, I must confess he became my boyfriend because he walked me home late one night when the snow was falling and I swooned.
When my birthday came in February my friends asked me what I wanted. “Warmth” was all I could muster. I had been cold for so long that when my job ended at the hotel, all I could think was to go to New Zealand where summer was in full force.
I settled there for awhile, thinking myself rather special as I surfed with the boys whilst my Canadian and European friends shuffled snow. And as summer turned to Autumn I settled in Queenstown in the south of the South Island and fell in-love with the season all over again and decided to settle.
In Queenstown I repeated what I had in the Canadian rockies; leaving in February and returning to England before returning to Banff. I spent two seasons in the Canadian rockies, learning to love them all, but it was always Autumn that had my heart (though Spring had my hopeful and summer always had me in-love).
When I lived in Seattle, Washington, it felt like winter 11months of the year with low, gloomy clouds that never seemed to leave. The damp weather was never charming and the autumn there seemed cranky. I moved to Los Angeles part for work (film) and part to believe there was such a thing as sun (there was). And the fall once again became my favourite; chilly enough for hot chocolate and a sweater but never gave way to a real winter.
It’s been a month since I moved to Texas and in that month, it’s been mostly 35C/95F with humidity. No fall to speak of. It has been during the days full of sweat and moisture that I realised how much I wanted fall to come. When you opened the window and the cool air would woosh in and make everything smell fabulous. When you’d walk to the post and come back with rosy cheeks. When you craved hot chocolate and cookies out of the oven. When you’d wear your favourite sweater over and over, no matter how tired or haggard it’d become.
But fall never seemed to come and I confess that I’d become a little sad. I tried all sorts of things to feel better; the whole “chin up!” girl scheme didn’t work, petting pretty things didn’t work, concentrating on home and work didn’t work. The heat made me cranky and irritable. No, I thought, there is nothing charming about heat. This I found slightly amusing since I had always hated the cold and often ran from it. But I realised I’m a goldilocks of weather – not too hot, please. Not too cold either. Just right. Just Autumn.
I’m happy to report that Autumn arrived yesterday. A sweater was on, a bike ride taken to the cafe, a coffee drunk (twice!), cookies baked, windows open, work done and a sitting on my front porch to just listen to leaves rustle about in the slight wind.
And that did more good than any prozac ever could.