The season as it is

Lately I have been missing Washington. Missing the dark skies and constant rain. The wet streets littered with leaves. I long for the gloominess of October in the Pacific Northwest. For that feeling of early fall in the place where I grew up. I have never minded the so-called dreariness that is fall and winter in western Washington. In fact, I love it.

Here in this big valley of farmland and high desert where we now live, it’s been warm, almost hot. It seems the only growth besides sage and grass is what the farmers plant, and the harvest has stripped the fields of the crops they’ve carried these past months, leaving wide open spaces of brown earth.

Last week I cried while driving the country roads just before dark. I couldn’t feel fall. I wanted to be amongst trees. I wanted to walk paths of fallen leaves. I wanted to witness the season.

And then we went hiking on Sunday in the mountains just south of the valley, where evergreens and aspens cover much of the ground. We hiked a path of fallen leaves along a running creek. Orange and green were the colors of the day.

I pulled a sprig of fir, squished its needles between my fingers back and forth, cupped my hands over my nose and inhaled deeply, over and over again as I walked. I thought, Christmas can’t come soon enough, but quickly reminded myself that I was in fall and to be in this moment, this place, for I was witnessing the season. I was feeling fall.

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