I love Fall. Or Autumn as the season is properly called. But, while I was living in Alaska - I came to understand the reason behind calling Autumn Fall.
My first Autumn in Alaska - I was talking with my mom on the phone and looking out of my sliding glass door. We lived in a second floor apartment and my view was a forest of trees. They were beautiful. The white birch wore their canopies of yellow leaves brilliantly while surrounded by the reds and pale greens of ash and cottonwoods. It was a cornucopia of colors framed by the majesty of varying spruce.
Well - as I was talking to my mom - all of the leaves (and yes - I do mean ALL OF THE LEAVES) dropped from the trees. At the same time. Together. As if they all counted "one, two, three" then yelled "jump" and down they came.
I never called it Autumn again.
It's the end of September - officially Autumn for the last couple of days - and it's a ridiculous 90+ degrees outside.
I hate Fall in Texas. It's almost as unbearable as summer.
We've had rain - thankfully - but it only adds humidity to the air and makes the heat all the more unbearable.
Right now, I'm pretending it's lovely and I've opened the windows of my apartment for the first time in four months. Yep. Windows open, A/C off.
But I want it to be cooler. I'm desperate. I want to wear jeans and long sleeves. I want to curl up with a blanket and a book and listen to the rain and the wind. I want to be chilly.
Sometimes, I want to go home.
Except, where exactly is home?
Right now it's Texas. I guess. I don't know. I'm still not sure after three years. It's more familiar than it was, but I don't know if that makes it home.
Is it Alaska? I was there for 18 years. It was heaven. But ... life happened up there and it was time to move on. Emotionally. Financially. But I miss it. I miss the trees and the mountains. I miss the waters and I even miss the snow. I miss Summer. I miss the week of Fall and the week of Spring.
I don't miss seven months of Winter.
Or is home really California? My mom always said I would miss it one day. And I do. With all my heart. But I don't think the California I miss is still there. Most of the people aren't there anymore. At least the people that I loved.
No. Most of them have moved on or died. They are the California that I miss. They are the California that is home.
Maybe it's true.
Maybe you can never go home.
Because home isn't a place.
Home is a memory.
So - I'll hold my memories close to my heart. I'll wear them when no one is looking - bring out the thin, Victorian needleworks of time and gently wrap myself in the familiar fabric of family and friends no longer with me. And as I quietly twirl around the dusty confines of memory, I'll ache to touch them all just one more time before I gently fold them back into the tiny compartments of my heart. I'll kiss them all goodbye and pattern them throughout my present day life.
I'll look out the window and imagine the stagnant breeze of a Texas Autumn carrying my home into the tiniest of dust particles and depositing it all around me.
Maybe today - I'll start to accept this place as my home afterall...
Maybe - just maybe - Autumn will be Fall, Fall will be warm sweaters, and Texas will weave itself into my heart along side Alaska and California.