Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcome Autumn

The weather has finally turned cooler here in Tirana and I dare say that autumn is upon us.  Sure it warms up by mid day but the mornings and evenings are decidedly chilly.  We finally broke down last night and turned on the heat in a few rooms and will be digging out the space heater for our bathroom today. (The bathrooms in our Albanian house are all unheated which makes for some bone tingling showers in the morning).  It is now sweater weather so I've been breaking out all of my woolen items from their summer hibernation and thoughts are turning to the months to come.  I've turned the oven back on and have baking treats and cooking up a storm making the fall comfort foods I my body seems to be craving.  Yes folks, fall is definitely upon us. 

Camden, Maine in autumn

Autumn is actually my favorite season and there really is nothing like autumn in New England.  Because of this, fall is also the time of year I am the most homesick since I have great fall memories of growing up in New England.   As a child an annual fall chore in our household was cleaning up our tree filled yard.  My brother and I turned this chore into a game by jumping into the piles of crisp leaves for hours on end. Even today, while I'm unlikely to jump into piles of leaves, it is hard to resist the urge to give them a kick or two as I pass by.  In college, the Pioneer Valley was always a colorful mecca for leaf peepers** from all over the world.  The colors were undoubtedly beautiful and Mount Holyoke celebrated with the ultimate autumn event.   "Mountain Day", was a much anticipated day off from classes where the entire campus got out and enjoyed all that autumn in New England has to offer.  Some of my fondest college memories include eating Atkins cider donuts at the Summit House atop Mt. Holyoke. Mountain Day 2013 was this past week but even from half a world away I paused to take in the changing seasons and long for a cider donut or two.

Mount Holyoke in all its autumn glory

The Connecticut River

While I have yet to find foliage that even compares to the brightly colored hues of a New England fall, regardless of where we are in the world, the crispness of the autumn air is always the same.  Living in southern Virginia the changes were subtle but they were there none the less and with the large oak trees anchoring our property, the raking of leaves continued to be an autumn tradition.  The leaves aren't as colorful here in Albania; in fact, here in Tirana leaves tend to turn brown and whither on the trees before falling to the ground.  But fall is definitely in the air and no matter where I am currently calling home, I love this season.

**As defined by me:  Leaf peeper:  One who travels specifically to take in fall foliage.  

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