I woke up the other morning to a chill in the air. And not just any chill. The chill. The one that creates a dividing line between summer and fall. Even though there are warmer days ahead, the planet has shifted and so have its inhabitants. The duvet is being pulled to our chins at night, and I donned a jacket to work for the first time this last week. Gone are the (low maintenance) days of drying my hair with the windows down on my way to work. It's time to break out the blow dryer. (Unless I fancy freezing my pants off every morning.)
Though I'm sad my new Birkenstock sandals are going to get tucked away soon, I'm excited to walk around the farmers market on Saturday mornings, hot drink in hand, deciding between the different gourd offerings. And mums! Mums didn't jump for joy in the New England climate, but they undoubtedly adore autumn in the Pacific Northwest. I'll take one of each color, please.
Speaking of plants, in a fit of alleged productivity, I lopped off the top of my fiddle leaf fig a few days ago. I blame night before school starts/long day at work stress, but let's face it: Marvin was thisclose to outgrowing our ceiling and I worried we'd have to find him a new home by late 2016. A kindly local nursery owner told me fiddle leaf figs are "quite tolerant" to being cut "waaaay back," and the internet kinda sorta of confirmed it. So I took a deep breath and snip snipped. The two tops are perched in pitchers of water, and my fingers are crossed that they propagate. And that all the leaves don't fall off the main plant in protest. (If the branches do sprout roots of their own, I'm not sure what I'll do with two more fig trees.)
Kiddo's cactus collection received a thorough watering on Saturday, then probably little to no fluids again until early spring. Hibernation is the key to cactus flowers, or so say the experts over at Yahoo Answers. It is also rumored that tucking them away in a cool, dark space (the garage, for instance) over the coldest months promotes wellness and growth come spring. True?
Cross country season is officially underway, and Saturday morning ushered in Kiddo's first meet. I decided last year that cross country meets are the prettiest and most fun, and I still stand by that claim. Rolling countryside, friendly people, and seeing Kiddo's towhead bobbing along in the distance as he approaches the next lap. The kids typically take a bus to meets, which means Mario and I had time to stop for a latte and bagel + schmear before making our way to the course. When it was over, we lingered for a bit and went about our day. (Jared usually opts to take the bus back with his mates.) A good friend of ours came to watch, so Mario left with him to do the sorts of things men do on a Saturday (look for tools and eat meat?) and I started checking things off my to-do list.
There has been a slight change to my position at work, which requires that I work most Sundays. Six of the next eight Saturdays, to be precise. So in a typical week, Friday and Saturday are my weekends. At first glance one might groan at the thought of a restructured weekend, but I'm finding it to be a very productive way of doing things. On Friday Mario and I headed out to spend the day together: breakfast at a new (to us) restaurant, followed by several hours working at coffee shop. It reminds me of the old days; we haven't been able to do these sort of day dates often since moving here. (I feel like I'm finally dating my husband again, and I couldn't be happier about it.) Because Friday is a school day and Saturday has xc meets, my sleep never gets out of wack and my days start nice and early. By Saturday evening, having tackled all my intended tasks, including an unplanned side trip to browse my favorite antique marketplace, I felt very accomplished. It feels like we've turned a page, both individually and as a family unit.
Fall is my very favorite season. A lot of people say that, and I believe them, but I feel at one with autumn: October is my birth month. My body was designed to wear cool weather clothing. I like giving away candy more than I like eating it. Brand new pencils make me weak in the knees. I prefer hot drinks over iced. I'm opposed to daylight savings time. Early fall is my New Years: serving to refresh my soul and instill a sense of enthusiasm; I am at my most productive in the third quarter.
That silly balance thing I always talk about? It's coming. I'm on the precipice. I can feel it in my bones. For now, I'm enjoying the simplicity that has come with having more to do. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but having a fuller calendar has actually brought about a greater sense of peace. My days are anchored to something and we are forced to accept the flow of things. Mario and I are communicating so much better, as is necessary when both parents are employed. Our house is cleaner, our lives are more organized, and our intended tasks are prioritized. Gone are the days of driving around Portland in search for that asparagus fern I just had to have (but clearly did not need). I'm becoming the picture of efficiency and I quite like it. I'm settling into my own skin quite nicely.
It was about time.
(I suppose all those women who say they really, truly came into their own in their thirties were quite right.)