Ordinarily, I despise cloudy days. I despise them for the oppressive way they make me feel sad, cold, and lethargic. I despise them for being so uninspiring that taking a shower feels like I have accomplished a monumental task for the day. I despise them for blanketing the sky in grayness, and for the way I suddenly sympathize with plants at the nursery whose ID tags picture a geometric sun, pleading for warmth and light.
But today is different. Today’s clouds brought a crisp edge that tickles the lungs when inhaled deeply. It is 10:30 in the morning, and I have already stepped outside four times just to feel the cold breeze snake its way between the button holes of my pajama set, surprising the bare skin of my chest to a kind of alert anticipation that melts into all kinds of comfort when I return indoors to warmth. I watch the dogs play in what were once neat piles of leaves, sniffing at the mold and decay, then lifting their noses to discern what news the breeze brings. I hear the windchimes clang irregularly, and the giant maple tree shudder farewells to its last leafy undergarments–an eerie soundtrack to the changing seasons.
Today I have hot chocolate and flannel sheets and brioche with apple butter. I have a sweet potato-chorizo soup simmering on the stove, waiting to be ladled into bowls at dinnertime to comfort our bellies with a fiery warmth. I have a stock pot of water coaxing every last ounce of flavor out of vegetable scraps, its vapors steaming up my kitchen window. I have clothes tumbling in the dryer with monotonous thuds.
Today I am thankful, as in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Today I have found my voice once again.
Hello, friends. It’s been a while.