This week has been transitional for us in many ways. Our summer friends have left, Kevin's first class has finished (with a weeks break before the end of class exam), and the weather has started to turn. The winds are picking up, the air has dropped a solid twenty degrees, and the days are grayer. It's a strange feeling to know that we're starting to experience the beginning of Autumn when up till this year that feeling has been associated with cloudless deep blue skies, whispers of chill in the summer breeze, and red and orange and yellow leaves slowly making their mark on the ground. Here the chill came in the night, replacing the stifling summer heat with immediacy, the leaves staying green and vibrant and in their proper place, and the sky turning gray and moody instead of calm deep blue.
My always-ready-for-autumn spirit doesn't quite know how to feel about these differences. I want to be excited about the approaching season as I have in the past. I want to ache for crisp mountain air and clear blue skies and sweet apples and fires under the bare tree on the back lawn. I want to immerse my senses in everything pumpkin. I want to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and see the mountains on fire in their Autumn colors. I want to slowly acclimate my body to the idea of colder temperatures, layering a new article of clothing each week.
Learning new seasons in new places is a difficulty I hadn't expected to face, but while I miss the former heralds I'm determined to enjoy these new harbingers of Autumn. I've also decided that, while apple picking and all-things-pumpkin may not be a practical idea in Holland, I can still implement some of my southern Autumn traditions.
So I'll be baking apple pies this year. And Apple Crisp. I'll be lighting the pumpkin candles and filling our home with the smell of the new season. I'll be putting up white Christmas lights and playing Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. I'll be wearing comfortable sweaters and boots with wool socks. I'll take the train through Belgium and Germany in search of the mountains I miss. I'll drink Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea and cinnamon-and-clove hot cider. I'll bake oranges poked with cloves and fry pumpkin spice pancakes with apple cinnamon glaze.
I've found that I am a very sentimental person (shocking, I know). I love the traditions that I've grown accustomed to. It's important though for me to remember the wise words of Martha Levinson during a conversation about tradition with Countess Violet (yes, this is a Downton Abbey quote...you're welcome) "Yes we do [appreciate the importance of tradition], we just don’t give it power over us."
The traditions of each season will changed based on our location, but the joy each of them bring will not. I'm looking forward to a year of new traditions and learning each season in our new country.
Now everyone go out and buy a Pumpkin Pie Yankee Candle.