Autumn smells like dead leaves and nostalgia.
The nostalgia runs right through me, a river cracking through dry, thirsty ground.
It flows into my bones like honey, hydrating the places that need it the most.
A thousand threads meet in a singular moment, chattering voices on a busy street all talking at the same time.
Past, present, future, regret, sweet memories, grief, old favorite songs, the fun, uncomplicated times I still yearn for, the awful things I wish I never said.
It all swirls. Sidewalks spit back wisdom as dry leaves crunch beneath my feet. Ferns whisper. Fog rises.
I just sit and feel. My favorite hobby. The thing that is most endangered in this world.
As much as I love doing sh*t and being busy, I always want more stillness. Space to dig deep. To rest. To settle into this skin that, if I’m honest, still feels a bit awkward and scratchy sometimes.
Dark green moss mops up my tears that are not sadness-flavored, just acknowledgement for all I’ve lived through —
Mistakes I’ve made, roads I wish I didn’t take, roads I’m so damn glad I did explore.
I have loved a lot, known some wonderful people and a**holes alike.
I have learned, sometimes not learned, and I am still learning.
That is the sweet promise.
The flesh and blood of this wisdom is the push to grow, to move forward, to keep becoming.
A sacred vow between myself and I.
Growth forever. Don’t hide from change.
A message carved into the bark of a birch tree that will outlive me by a thousand years.
As sunset fades into inky tendrils of night, I am enlivened.
It is dark outside and I have sparked lanterns, lit with curiosity, to see faraway landscapes hidden inside.
I shine clove-scented candles on tender spots that still feel a bit broken, wounds that are healing, joy, hope, and exhaustion.
But what my soul seeks more than anything is this —
I want to be seen, she says.
I want to be acknowledged.
I want to be known.
I hear it. A drum in my chest, a pulse to a rhythm I’ve always known.
The wind picks up, shaking ruby-tipped leaves and bringing with it, the possibility of rain.
This nostalgia—these moments of intensified, almost mystical yet-oh-so-human feeling—it is a way of looking. A way of beholding who we are. Who we are not. How we have changed and stayed the same. Where we have bloomed. The fields we’ve cleared, the toxins we’ve cut away. The things within that still beg for more softness, a refreshed ritual of love and honoring.
It feels so good to acknowledge all of that, doesn’t it?
While being seen by another is irreplaceable, in this moment, my hands are bathed in the pure intention of knowing that it feels beautiful to see myself.
To look into my own eyes.
It’s like saying to the weariest parts of our being, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve fought like hell to be here today. With grit and love and determination, onward I go.”
Autumn breathes its deep magic in these stolen moments of solitude. These moments where letting go, feeling the old pain, and moving forward all feel like the same thing.
Nostalgia is a way of looking. Looking back, dreaming ahead, and most of all, looking within.
From this cultivated connection with the webs of our inner realms, we can share the beauty of who we are with the world.
It’s even more vibrant, more lemony gold and mesmerizing, than the falling leaves as they change—
Us, as we change.
As we grow.
As we learn.