I hope that you've noticed, summer has officially melted away into autumn. Jeans and scarves have been pulled from the back of the closet to replace tank tops and flip flops. The days of sunshine leaving a dewy glow on warm cheeks have been taken over by wind blown rosy circles left in their place. And I have to tell you, I've been avoiding writing this post all weekend, because seeing pumpkins sitting on porch steps and slipping my feet into woolen socks makes me long to be in a place where I am not.
Living on this beautiful island ensures that summers are filled with days on the beach and nights surrounding fires with friends. Living here means you find comfort in seeing the thin layer of sand covering your car mats and knowing the smell of low tide from a mile away. Summers on the island are magical, and this summer in particular proved to be filled with the easy living you would expect from such a place. But for me, when the warm air gives way to the cool breezes and the leaves begin to turn to such a brilliant gold you would swear someone climbed each tree and painted them themselves, this island gives all of its magic to the mountains and thats all I've been able to think about for the past few days.
I guess I have taken it for granted for the past few years. When the summer shuts it doors and autumn turns its sign to "welcome!" I usually move back up to the Catskills for another year of exams and presentations. But this year is different, and I didn't realize just how much my little mountain town had become home. On days like today- sunny skies, cool breeze, crunching leaves- all I can think about is wandering around my mountain town. I would buy a card for a friend in the art supply store, head over to the coffee shop to fill it out, window shop on my way down to the post office, detour into the marketplace to get Levi his favorite treats, and then head up to the mountain with nothing but a bag of trail mix and a bottle of water for the afternoon. On my way home I would stop at the farm-stand for some apples and fresh flowers, pick up dinner at my favorite diner where I would chat with the waitresses, grab my pup and a blanket, and then head down to the local park to watch sweet children run and play while day turned into evening. When the chill in the air became too much to bare anymore I would head home for a night of lounging with friend,s popping popcorn and watching movies. And sure, this may seem impossible to do when there is homework to be done, a job to go to, and groceries to be bought; but the truth is it was so far from impossible. This is what an autumn day is to me. This is where I belong now. And it wasn't until the summers close that I realized my magical island really isn't home anymore.
Maybe the most frustrating part of all of this is that so few people really understand. When I try to explain why I just want to go back to my mountain town most people brush it off. "Oh, you just miss college life. You just aren't feeling ready for the 'real world.' You just need to get over it." But here is the thing of it. I don't miss college life. I don't really miss going out four nights a week to the local bar. I don't really miss staying up late cramming for exams. I don't really miss looking at an ever growing pile of dirty dishes that no one wants to do. And I don't really miss living in a house where the heat doesn't go above 65 in the middle of winter. I don't miss college life. What I do miss is the rest of the life I created for myself there. I miss teaching ballet to little tots on Saturday mornings. I miss baking apple muffins in the afternoon. I miss shopping at the local health food store. I miss going to open mic night and kicking off my shoes at the local coffee shop. I miss the things that I had to give up because college life came to an end.
When I was living in my mountain town I created a life for myself. I started to grow and change and define who I was. All I have been able to think about since I left is when I will get to go back, for good. And unless the answer is "today," then it is too far off. Maybe you can identify, maybe you can't. But I have to tell you, the crisp autumn air has just arrived, and I don't know how I will ever make it through this season without the magic of the Catskills.