It happened overnight. Autumn snuck up on me this time. Yesterday, my air conditioner ran non-stop, and this morning, I stepped outside my South Carolina home and fall’s brisk air sluiced over me and brought me tingly, fully awake.
And with that crispness comes a memory avalanche of days gone by. The recall of early morning nausea (with all four pregnancies) during this time of year fortunately defers to more pungent flavors of childhood and adolescence.
Don’t know why those memories supersede most of the others, but in the first rush of recall, they do. The buttons inside me are marked with indelible ink, taking me back to precise slices of life.
Smells of autumn…leaves burning clicks on my childhood days at grandma’s farm, when the black pots came out and placed over fires that boiled the water for laundry. Afterward, I helped hang out the clothes until I tired and then I played in the forest or pasture, where the smoke smell trailed me most of the day.
Flavors of autumn, to me, are tied first to lemony childhood and later to strawberry-teens. Today, lemon drops prevail as I relive playing with friends who lived on my mill hill village block. I experience again skating along the uneven, hilly sidewalks on rickety, key-tightened skates from last Christmas…smelling potatoes and steak frying from my mama’s kitchen, their aroma lassoing me inside. Mama’s buddy, Louise Parris, a gorgeous soul-mate who hangs out at our house, grins when Mama’s still warm gingerbread man is placed before me and I try to decide where to start eating him. They burst into laughter when I pluck his raisin eyes and pop them in my mouth.
When skipping up and down Maple Street, my fifth-year turf, I join up with Zelle, my best friend, and from her lawn, we entertain the people at the hotel, next door to her village house by doing an impersonation of singers in the latest silver screen musical at the village movie house. Never mind that we can’t see the hotel residents. We are certain they are peeking out their windows, watching us.
The memories fade as life catches up to me on this crisp morning. I don warmer clothing and make certain the HVAC unit is off. The power bill will profit from this at-rest interval.
Today, I’m doing closet inventory, seeking out sweaters and sweats for the cooling temps ’round about. And I feel something warm and life-affirming stirring inside me as I gaze out the window at golden sunlight highlighting turning leaves in God’s colorful landscape painting.
Autumn is another new beginning. A time of renewal.
And I thank Him for memories that linger and warm the soul.
Ahhh, how precious they are.