Happy fall, everyone! I realize I’m a couple weeks late on that wish, but I was extra Grinch-y this year about the demise of summer. In fact, this is the first year since moving to New York in 2006 that I haven’t been praying for sweater weather since early July.
While summer in NYC boasts many attractions – outdoor concerts, Coney Island outings, getting drinks at the Frying Pan – it’s hot as balls, and the city smells like trash, sour milk, and B.O. Sometimes the air conditioning will go out on the subway, and then you find yourself pressed up against strangers while sweat beads roll down your back and legs. You learn to chuck modesty and wear as little fabric as possible, especially in your apartment, where you lay directly beneath your window AC unit in only your undies.
But this year, I summered in Colorado, where the humidity is low, there’s nary a mosquito to be found, and there’s rarely a need to spoon a stranger (unless you’re into that, in which case, do your thang). It was glorious, and I didn’t want it to end.
Despite my oft-stated preferences, the days began getting shorter, and the temperatures cooler. Halloween candy overtook the “BBQ supplies” aisle at the grocery store. Costume stores popped up in vacant storefronts. I watched it all with dread for the day I’d have to put away the sandals and pull out the boots.
But then something lovely happened. I woke up this morning, and snowflakes were falling. The air was cold, crisp, and clean all day, and when I got home from work, the smell of a camp fire was on the breeze and snow was on the mountains. It made me want to cuddle in front of my fireplace with a mug of something warm and read a book, and it conjured images of Christmastime activities with my family.
I turned on the heat in my apartment this evening, and it gave off that distinctive central heating smell, which I haven’t really been around in years (I had radiators in NY). I immediately felt small again, like I was back at my house in Indiana, laying atop one of the heating vents with a blanket over me, creating a tent of warmth that I had to poke my face out of every few minutes when I got too hot. I did this because my father did it – which seems like an odd thing for a grown man to do, looking back, but it made so much sense to me then. I never felt as comfortable and safe as when I was curled around that vent, watching bits of dust float through slats of light and simply being quiet and warm.