How many times have I gushed about fall on this page? Probably a lot. Welp, imma do it again anyway.
I have always loved the in-between seasons. Autumn feels like a hug—the colors, the smells, the recipes, the clothing. Something about it calms and warms. When I was a girl, I would dream of a fall wedding on a hilltop, à la Runaway Bride, and sigh after the cinnamon-twisted skies. Everything in autumn feels nostalgic and tender to me—golden sunsets and blush-red leaves, misty mornings and steaming teas. Frost dusted mornings.
That girl never would have guessed where we would be in autumn 2023, but I think she would be happy to know we still bake pumpkin bread and play in the leaves. I think she would be glad for our endurance, our insistence in embracing storm clouds and turning our face to the darting rain.
A long time ago, we would grow pumpkins. Some of them would get so big we had to roll them to the front of the house instead of carrying them. We called it the pumpkin parade. Fall seemed to last forever back then.
I recently reread Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie—I consider Laura and I kindred spirits, and I needed a kindred spirit—and I think Laura would have loved the pumpkin parade. She knew what it meant to savor the seasons.
Reading about the lengths it took to build a life back then reminds me of how important it is to slow down and appreciate each meal and resource. These settlers had an endless list of chores and tasks, from hunting to food storage to winterizing a home and previsions to planning the right crops at the right times and so much more, it was truly a grueling pace.
But then there was the excitement of earning delicacies like maple sugar and delicate Christmas cakes. Flavorful bacon and tender venison after a long winter of salt pork. Little glimmers of novelty and luxury in a time of drafty cabins and constant preparation.
So much of modern living exists in a bubble. Of course, I love air conditioning and heating and grocery stores just as much as the next person, but the more we distance ourselves from the world at our fingertips (the real one, not the one in the phone everyone’s always saying is so advanced) the more we cease to recognize the beauty of change, the value of hands-on living.
Seeing the seasons through Laura’s young eyes was refreshing and a good reminder of what it means to really be in your skin. To create and play and build, to go to bed tired in all the right ways—to make a house a home.
When people learn that I’m a homeowner, I can see the questions in their eyes if not asked directly. Why settle down so fast? Why tie yourself to one place so soon? Why why why? Why not jump around and explore? Why not move to a place you’ve never been before??
And to that, I say, first of all, “been there, done that.” Secondly, purchasing a home did not come from a place of fear or lack of experience or what have you. No, not even the rising rent prices or mass roommate epidemic drove my decision (though, of course, those played a part).
The truth is when I began to explore and moved far from everything I’d ever known, I found a lot, but one of the most prominent things I found while flitting around “unattached” was that I so desperately wanted to be attached to a place. I was fine in the wind; I could do that. But was I happy? Was I living a life I wanted, or simply the one I thought was expected of me as an early twenty-something?
When I sat with the answer, I knew what I needed to do—build the life I wanted and needed, not based on what was expected of me by faceless members of society or anxious, snide voices in my head. And to do that, I needed a foundation worth building upon. And to do that, I needed support and a space that was my own. Somewhere I could turn into a home, not simply a place I lived.
A yard that was mine where my dog could play.
A kitchen where I could bake and cook whenever I wanted to.
A living room I was safe to read in—a table to paint at.
A place to welcome friends and family from near and far.
A garden I could tend to.
Being unattached has its own list of freedoms and benefits, yes. But they were not ones I wanted. Or rather, they were less important to me than the above. Each of which, amazingly enough, I have achieved. Every time I get to cook soup for a loved one or throw a tennis ball for my dog makes up for any challenges found in homeownership.
I made my choice. We all make sacrifices to get the life we want, the life that suits us best. I think I got a pretty good deal. And besides—my days of exploration are far from over.
That’s why times like these—with autumn here and winter coming—make me feel like one of the most blessed people on earth to sit in my house and write my silly blogs and stories and watch the leaves change outside my window. To make a house into a home day by day, season by season.
Thank you for reading—I hope you get to feel some of that golden October light today.