On Settling In

It's that time of year when I wake up with a shiver, giddy over the chill in the air and that smell of autumn that may or may not exist outside of my own imagination. I put on a scarf or a sweater, make coffee, and proceed to ignore the afternoon as it warms up, because it's still summer, but I'm ready for it to be fall.

I was running this morning and it was a damp and comfortable 60 degrees, but the sun was shining on parts of the sidewalk and I thought about how amazing it is that I could be running in Virginia (in Farmville or Roanoke or Charlottesville), or I could be running in Minneapolis, and although I am not the same person I was seven years ago, I can feel almost exactly the same at this moment that I did at that moment.

I made a turn on a new loop and was surprised by the smell of coffee coming from a shop on the corner. The coffee shop is right by our apartment building, but looking at it from a different angle; coming at it from a different street, startled me. It looked different, and I felt disoriented. I'm still getting to know my new neighborhood.

It reminded me of the time my old roommate Caroline, our friend Maggie, and I sat on the steps of a building on Longwood's campus before classes started our freshman year. I remember the cold roughness of the cement steps and the sort of horizontal platforms that jutted out on either side, and how later, one afternoon, I walked past that building on my way to something like I always did and realized that it was the same place we had sat that late summers night, weeks before.

I have moved almost every year since starting college in 2006, and each time, it has been at the end of a summer. August awakens a nostalgia in me, and I want to start over in some way every time autumn nears.

The promise of unfamiliar corners becoming ordinary fixtures is something I like. Settling in feels good.