A pumpkin spice latte.
That’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says fall. I picture myself at 20 years old, walking across the quad of my college campus, enjoying the smell in the air that can only be described as crisp. The thought of fall makes me long to go apple picking, and then to bake something warm and gooey that sends cinnamon wafting through the house.
There is something that excites me about fall more than any other time of year. I don’t know if it’s because I spent 12 years in Los Angeles, where winter is preceded by summer and then fire season, or that I’ve just been beaten down by a decade of oppressively hot summers in Maryland. While I’m never in a rush for the cold and darkness of winter, I always look forward to the hopeful feeling that accompanies autumn. We all go our separate ways for the summer, but then we come back together — at work, in school, in our communities. An opportunity to start fresh.
After what we’ve all been through in the past year and a half, however, it’s hard to feel hopeful in this moment. At this point, I’m starting to wonder if life will ever look the way it did before COVID-19. So many questions fly through my head: Will we return to the customary American greeting of shaking hands? Will French society go back to its signature two-kiss greeting? Will our children ever go into a public place without a mask again?
To take my mind off the madness surrounding the increased threat of the delta varient (not to mention the deepening destruction of global warming), I focus on fall. Through my senses, I am reminded that there are still so many small pleasures I can still enjoy this year — and for many years to come.