Right when the afternoon starts to fade to dusk, a flock of birds swoops from tree to tree. Chattering loudly, they are present every evening in autumn and winter without out fail. Last night, the air was cold and clear and darkness was slowly descending. For awhile, I stood outside with the birds and a faint sphere of a moon, taking it in.
When I went back inside, I pulled the jar of apple cider spices from the pantry and deeply breathed in the spicy, pungent scent a moment. It smelled like fall: crackling leaves, a harvest moon, bonfires, and air so cold it makes your lungs ache in the best possible way. I measured out a few tablespoons, mixed it in a pot of apple cider, and left it to simmer. I could hear my family in the living room, listening to country music and starting a fire; I joined them for a moment and watched the flames morph, interspersed with sprays of sparks. Then the apple cider was ready and we drank it in tiny sips with pursed lips, trying to prevent burned tongues but drinking it anyway because the cider smelled too good not to.
Another song came on talking about back home, hot summers, and back roads; I sang along while my face grew rosy from the flames and thought about last winter. Soon we will feel trapped by the early darkness, the long, cold nights and will try to wish the balmy summer evenings back into reality. But just then, with the fire reduced to embers and only dregs left in our cider mugs, I was grateful for a fall Friday nights like this. When I slipped into bed (heaped with an impressive pile of blankets), the last bird cawed, and with that I fell into slumber.
Just a note: thank you so much for your comments on my last post. I am so grateful and humbled by the response. ♥