Home. 8pm on a weeknight, as we head into September. It’s still light – but it’s a changeling light, hinting towards darker days to come and by 8:30 it’s solidly dark. I’ve taken The Girl for her postprandial walk and she’s now curled up on the study carpet – and even her curls are starting to be a bit tighter, as the air cools and she begins to think about protecting her belly. It’s barely ‘cool’ but at this point in the season a light hoodie gives an atavistic feeling of protection. This is the time of year when I start to think of Autumn, which is right around the bend… and come Autumn, I think of Home.
Of course, this Home is the stuff of fantasy. In my version of Home I’m baking cinnamon rolls on a Wednesday morning, sipping tea with a friend in a sunny kitchen, as if I am in some cozy Cotswold village .. I only ever (and rarely) bake cinnamon rolls in Winter (and certainly not on a Wednesday morning, when I’m usually, desperately, trying to confirm freight) but when the light starts to change and the kids empty out of the park by 5p (no matter if it’s still warm & it’s still light – they’re headed home)…. my thoughts turn to the safety and security of Home, epitomized by those cinnamon rolls. Other things trigger that feeling – there’s an interchange on a little-used freeway spur near the I&M Canal at Princeton IL, all rolling hills in green and gold, that always makes me think of cinnamon rolls, sparkling Autumn mornings… and vintage Ubar. I can travel that interchange in May and suddenly, in my mind, it’s Autumn and I’m in Ubar, making cinnamon rolls. Vintage Ubar is, for me, the quintessential Autumn fragrance, as homey and homely as one can get, despite its exotic provenance. It’s my ultimate comfort scent. If I’m really frantic I can spray Ubar and it immediately calms me down, makes me think of homey kitchens and cinnamon rolls (funny about those cinnamon rolls – not only do I rarely make them, I rarely eat them. But they have Power!). Ubar grounds me, keeping me from feeling like the first few lines of Stephen Dobyns’ poem ‘How to Like It”
These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
Interesting that I love this poem so much, when Autumn actually evokes the persack opposite emotions in me. When I wear Ubar in late August, the sound of a motorcycle at 7p means they’re hustling homeward, instead of out on a perilous ride in deer season and possible weather. Funny how a few days’ shift in light can cause such a shift in thought – in July a night ride is velvet-luscious, full of fun and possibility. Come the turn towards Autumn….
Like the dog in Dobyns’s poem, come late August Ubar is how I deal with the prospect of change.
The slow shift from Summer to Autumn is the most emotionally challenging for me – by late November/early December, I’m too focused on getting battened down for Winter to have the luxury of emotional thought (other than a panicked ‘where the hell is the good shovel?’). I don’t even think about how perfume makes me feel until we’re well past our first blizzard, lest I get fugue-y with it and forget to change the furnace filter and check the smoke alarms (don’t forget to test your batteries, btw – I have to replace my Lemon Smoke Alarm that blared “WARNING! FIRE! FIRE! at 2am last week (fresh batteries and all). But now… Now is That Time. The unsettling in the blood and the need to be Home has just started showing the tips of its teeth. So I’m going to spray Ubar with abandon – to deal with the prospect of change.
What is your most emotional seasonal transition? How do you deal with the prospect of change? What do you wear? And.. do you like cinnamon rolls?