I pull my sweater around me, but the cold air still gets in. It seeps through the holes in the fabric and embraces me. It is sharp as it pushes against my skin. And yet, it is comforting. The brisk wind brings color to my cheeks and reminds me that I am alive.
Something about the air tells me I could slice through it. That is, if I had a sharp enough knife. It is not the soft, sticky air of summer that bends and folds all around you. Nor is it the hard, cruel winds of winter that force you to retreat under layers of fabric and hide behind corners. No, autumn air is different. It is crisp and fresh. Strong, but not hard. Tranquil, but not lethargic. Autumn holds me in temporary equilibrium. Excess and lacking disappear. There is only me. There is only fall.
A gust of wind sends a handful of rainbow-colored leaves into the air. They dance and twirl, embracing the ever-changing wind. They make one last leap toward the sky before slowly drifting down and resting, gently, on a bed of their brothers and sisters.
I take off my shoes and dig my toes into the damp soil. The earth caresses me. My mother embraces me. “Welcome home,” she whispers.