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From my earliest memory, autumn has always been my favorite time of year. There’s something about the world as it prepares itself for rest, for sleep, that just resonates deeply with who I am. There’s a different quality to the air, a crispness, that wipes the scenery clean and allows me to look at the familiar and see the fabulous.

It’s a season of enchantments, of trees blooming afire, of streets sporting carpets of foliage. It’s a season that seems to evoke the market stall atmosphere that somewhere in my soul is remembered – the season of the harvest.

Last night as I sat journaling in the half light, I watched the thin branches of the birch tree whipping in the frenzy that only a still autumn wind inspires. I loved the feeling of the wind rushing into the living room where I sat quietly, sweeping even the air in the house clean. Inspiring quietude.

And for me, it’s not just the natural world that lifts me to heights and flights of fancy in autumn – it’s all the human traditions, all the small things that get repeated year to year.

I love watching neighborhoods transform sculpted lawns into graveyards and landscaped gardens into mausoleums and treacherous paths of spooktacular delight.

I love eating candy corn and those sugary pumpkins that ought to come with warning labels and a required trip to the dentist.

I love candy apples, and apple cider.

I love watching the trees each day, and marking their progress from green to gold, orange, and crimson.

I love taking shuffling, shambling walks through town, kicking up swirls of leaves with each step.

I love knowing that it won’t be long before I’m curled up before the woodburner in my dad’s shop, basking in the heat of a fall fire.

I love the apple pies with the sugar-crumble crusts that dad makes this time of year. It never fails – he gets a taste for it, and we all come home to splendor.

I love sweaters, and jeans, and boots, and hoodies. I love the comfort clothes that I can finally wear again.

I love sliding my smooth legs into autumn-crisp sheets, and pulling out the extra quilts, and sleeping with the windows open to the night sounds and night air.

I love that school is in session – even if I’m not enrolled at the moment. I love the feeling I had buying all the supplies on the list, and new pens, and new paper. I love remembering that feeling of starting off on another new adventure each year.

I love pumpkins and gourds. I love the market stands stacked full of ripe produce. I love zucchini bread.

I love the palette of autumn – one of the times when I feel most at ease in the world around me as it mirrors the way I feel inside. I love the fading greens, the flashy golds, the warm oranges, the passionate reds, the sumptuous browns all around me.

I love being reminded now, more than any other time of year, that people once believed in magic. That they saw the evidence of it swirling all around them. That the once gave homage to gods and goddesses. That they once had good reason to rejoice in the harvest, and to count each moment precious.

I love being reminded of the mystery of it all. For me, autumn has ever seemed the season that required the most faith – to rejoice in the beauty and bounty around you, while knowing that the world prepares for sleep. Knowing that winter’s on its way. Knowing that you have faith enough to believe that spring will come again, and set us in motion for another cycle of sleep and rebirth.

I’m savoring these days, knowing their briefness makes them precious. I’m allowing myself to be enraptured, to enjoy this latest tryst in my long love affair with autumn.

Come have a look through my kaleidoscope eyes. Come walk with me, as I make my way down the Path of Mastery (complete with fits and starts and pitstops and potholes). Our very impermanence is what makes us burn so brightly, and struggle so valiantly, and feel so deeply – it’s what makes us seize the day, and the moment. Come in, settle in, share a moment with me.

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"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." (Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 5)