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?


  • Kathleen says:

    I love your posts Musette, so thought-provoking and I love your story-telling. This year has been a transition to our Home, and really a miracle that it is happening with all the uncertainty of this year. We sold our house amidst covid which I didn’t love, have been in a temporary apartment, and close on our Home which will be perfect in every way, next week. Home is in our heart and wherever we are, but this house will be It for me! Fall is my favorite season (I struggle with spring because it is always a tease in the Rocky Mtns with frequent snow storms). Denver has been way too hot with too many days over 90 degrees this summer. Yesterday we had our first snow! We went from 100 degree weekend to 30 degrees and snow. Seriously! I have never had the privilege of sniffing vintage Ubar, but I have a more recent bottle prompted by you and Portia talking about it. Love it! I’d wear it today but it is packed away in moving boxes. xx

  • Patty says:

    I don’t want autumn yet! I want more summer. I feel like we got shorted on summer, and I want two more weeks of 85-90 degree days. Then I’ll be content to slip into fall.

    • Musette says:

      Our summer was beautiful – then it turned viciously hot, the kind of hot where, if you’re not out of it by 10a, you’ll probably fry. I don’t miss those days but I admit to not being ready for chilly Autumnal rains (like today) xoxoxo

  • ElizaC says:

    Our grocery store used to sell cinnamon rolls w an amazing, lemony frosting. The first time I tried Shalimar I wasn’t sure about buying a bottle. However, I woke up 3 times that night wondering why I was smelling those amazing cinnamon rolls ? Needless to say, I bought a bottle of Shalimar!

    • Musette says:

      Francois Coty was said to say that he (FC) made creme brulee’ whilst Guerlain made Shalimar (obvs I’m paraphrasing like a lima bean there – but you get the idea) xoxox Shalimar is a vanilla (with cinnamon overtones) masterpiece! xoxoxo

  • rosarita says:

    I love this post! That quickening of everything that means fall…..well, it’s my favorite season but I have to admit that I’m not looking forward to it this year. I’ve been Home for months. That said, cozy is good. I live in Amish country as you know, and cinnamon rolls as big as your head are easily found, all yeasty and slathered in icing 2″ thick. I’m not a fan, just too much of everything. My mom made the best pies, with a tender perfect crust, always leaving me a little dough to roll out with cinnamon sugar – now that’s my kind of cinnamon roll 🙂

  • March says:

    ….. I bet if I came to visit I could cajole you into baking cinnamon rolls. Or maybe we’d just go to your cute cafe downtown and save the effort lol. We are not quiiiiiite there in that shift yet but I know exactly what you mean.

    • Musette says:

      nah – we’d make them here. As long as I have yeast and flour, we’re good. Oh, and cinnamon, of course (but who doesn’t have cinnamon?)
      low 60s and a cold, greasy rain tonight. I fear Autumn might’ve sneaked up on me – All Autumn in a Day, if you will. xoxox

  • Cinnamon says:

    Lovely post. I used to bake cinnamon rolls (haven’t done so for several years). Oy, season changes … I don’t love autumn except the beginning — ie, the gentle transition from summer. As soon as the Canada geese start moving south I get verrrry twitchy. And once it starts getting darker and wetter that’s me done. The dog gets shorter walks, i start hitting the candles big time, I make soups. I view the winter solstice with huge relief — we’re moving back into the light. So, yes, spring and summer are my seasons. Love what happens to gardens here; love the return of warmer weather and the lighter days.

    • Cinnamon says:

      forgot perfume. what does that say about me and winter? Eau Noire big time. And the Tauer L’Air candle along with Diptyque Feu de Bois.

      • Musette says:

        LOL! I feel the PERSACK! same way about Winter Solstice!! That’s my countdown! Though I do admit to enjoying the first snowfall – that is, if it’s not followed by a deep freeze, which happens all too often here in the Midwestern US, making sidewalks perilous AF. In the old days, if a snow/freeze happened over the weekend, the bridges across the Chicago River would end up with these terrifying ruts, frozen in place, making that walk truly dangerous. xoxoxo

  • Portia Turbo says:

    Heya Musette,
    I had that old Ubar bottle too but it wa so precious I never used it. In the end I sold it to my mate Scotty and bought a more up to date version. I love to spritz it with gay abandon. So gorgeous.
    Home? I can make one anywhere as long as I have my books, perfumes, a well thought out kitchen and a comfy bed.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      I love both the vinty and the current Ubar, though the vintage is ….. well! I don’t even know if STUNNING does it justice!
      I, too, feel like that about Home – as I was telling Tara C (below) I never expected to find myself here – but here I am, and it’s fine. I believe that Home is where you make it. xoxoxo

      • Portia Turbo says:

        HA! Yeah, the vintage Ubar is beyond. Every now and then Scotty wears it and I buzz around him like a fruit fly. So glam.
        I think being able to make anywhere home has something to do with being comfortable in your own skin. Once you find that then it’s easy to exhale and home becomes where you are.

  • Dina C. says:

    Wow, Anita, what an evocative post! I love fall with its cooling temperatures. My favorite fall scents are some biggies like Sycomore, 31 Rue Cambon and Mitsouko for later towards November. Right now, Virginia is barely any cooler, so it still feels like summer around here. Emotionally, it really feels like fall when the choir that I’m in starts rehearsing Christmas music starting in late September.

  • Tara C says:

    Oh lawd, so much in this post. My mother bakes the best cinnamon rolls. The memory of my first Home. And I’m in the middle of a wrenching move, from a place I had hoped would be Home but turned out not to be… on my long, slow way to find another place that I hope will finally be Home… or maybe I will find out there really is no Home anywhere except in my own heart. I wish I had some vintage Ubar and that that would make me feel Home. Last night it was copious amounts of Mitzah. I normally love fall, coloured leaves and oriental ambery scents, but this fall is a tough one. The sand is shifting under my feet and I feel very unsettled.

    • Musette says:

      I honestly know how that feels! My only suggestion is the one I gave myself, which is to make plans but stay limber, as Life may have other things in store. I would never have thought I would be living in a 1,400 person town, in the middle of nowhere. But here I am. And it’s fine.
      Be as kind to yourself as you can, darling!

    • Portia Turbo says:

      ALL the hugs TaraC.
      ….. and then a couple more for good measure.
      Perfume Posse is one of your homes.
      Portia xx