Somehow, September has arrived. For the first time in a long time, I'm not excited. September generally kicks off my favorite part of the year. The best of the four seasons, Fall. I loved cruising through September, October, and November, soaking up everything this time of year has to offer. Now I want nothing to do with it. 

 Orr's Fall Farm Fun Days - September 2016

Orr's Fall Farm Fun Days - September 2016

A lot of tough firsts are approaching, the soonest being my first birthday without Mark. I would be happy if I went to bed the night before and woke up the morning after. I just want to skip the whole day. It wasn't that Mark made a big deal of my birthday, that wasn't his style or mine. But he was sweet and thoughtful and made sure I felt just a bit more loved than I already did. I treasure my family and friends, but there is no equal replacement or substitution here. I view each day of my life through a lens of absence. Everything is colored by what is missing. On a day that will only accentuate that which is painfully obvious, I'd like a pass.  

 I still dream about this cake - September 2016

I still dream about this cake - September 2016

I felt a cool edge to the air today, the edge that usually brings a smile to my face and spreads a warmth across my heart. Today it just made me sad. It made me want to pull the collar up on a jacket the way you do when the chill hits your neck and you just can't wait to get indoors. That small gesture I chuckle at in others is what my spirit did today. Cold air on raw soul. It wants to hunker down, bundle up, and see you in a few months.  The realization that fall brings with it ache where it once brought joy is unsettling. My foundation cracked, shifted. 

 Morning on the ATT, November 5, 2016

Morning on the ATT, November 5, 2016

I'm not saying that this time of year is ruined for me forever. But the magic that it has carried for me for so long has disappeared. I am not ready to make the best of it. I will not do and see and taste and smell all that I once anticipated with something bordering on childlike wonder. The beautiful simplicity suddenly got dreadfully complicated. I am not in a place where making new traditions feels possible. I will limp through the next three months, as I have limped through the past nine. I will survive this first dark year, through both hell and high water. 

 Backyard Burn race - October 23, 2016

Backyard Burn race - October 23, 2016

Everything is a little less shiny, less bright, less brilliant. Just...less. I could rattle off a laundry list of things big and small that won't happen this season, most of which are of no consequence to anyone but me. In a season usually defined by its colors and spices, I find myself feeling flat and bland. I had no idea this would happen, until it did. A temporary falling out of love with Fall. She will pass, as all seasons do, and come round again. I doubt she'll notice I'm gone but I know she'll welcome me back when I'm ready. Until then, collar's up.