Fall(ing) in Love All Autumn Long

Fall. Autumn. The season of leggings and sweaters. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Uggs. Orange and yellow and red and browns. Falling leaves and football games. I think Fall is my favorite season, which is funny because Fall is all about change and things ending and I am NOT about those things in the slightest. However, despite my distaste for change, I am a sucker for the beauty of Fall. A few weeks ago, Mr. Right and I (together for almost 1 year now!) were driving back to school from his sister’s birthday party when we decided to take the scenic route. Yes, it would’ve been easier to just shoot down the highway and be home in 25 minutes. Yes, we both had a lot of homework to do. Yes, we were tired and needed naps. But none of that mattered in the moment. We cranked up the Keith Urban, rolled down the windows, and just drove. Sometimes, we talked. Most of the time, we didn’t. We sung along quietly to the radio, pointed out pretty scenes, and just took it all in. At one point, Mr. Right pulled off the road and we stopped on the side of a large field. He looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes and said, “let’s go.” When I questioned where exactly it was we were going, he simply smiled and unbuckled his seatbelt. We made our way across the open field, the sun shining directly in our eyes, a soft breeze blowing, and the occasional honk of a goose filling our ears. We arrived at the lake, and just stood, marveling in its beauty. Scooping up some big, round, rocks, Mr. Right began to toss them into the water, admiring the *plop* they made as they landed and the ripples that filled the lake. It was wonderful.

As we stood there, admiring the scenery and taking in the sunshine, I could not take my eyes off of him. Maybe it was the sunlight. Maybe it was the strong steady arch of his arm as he effortlessly tossed the rock. Maybe it was how he turned to me, grinning and squinting into the sun. All I could think about was, ” I love this boy. I love this moment. I love my life and I do not remember the last time I felt this happy and this at peace.”

Love has a funny way of doing that, ya know. It makes you feel simultaneously full of butterflies and completely at peace. It is a strange phenomenon to think that one day, you are simply living your life, going about your daily thing, and then this person enters your life and suddenly everything changes. One of my favorite movies, Sleepless in Seattle, sums this up perfectly. Meg Ryan’s Annie is talking to her mom about how she met her fiancĂ©e, Walter, and she says, “you make a hundred different choices every day and then one day, he gets your sandwich and you get his and suddenly your life is changed forever.”

That afternoon was one of those choices. We could’ve gone straight back to school. We could’ve easily hopped onto the highway and been on our way, back in the comfort of our respective dorm rooms in a mere 25 minutes. But we didn’t. We took a turn, we chose to unwind, to explore, to cherish a few extra minutes together rather than rush back to the reality of college life. We chose to drive through an Arboretum and stop the car and get out and just be. All of those little choices led to one of my favorite memories of us ever.

So, when given the choice, take the long route. When given the option, take those extra moments with your loved ones. There will always be emails to read and papers to write and laundry to wash and notes to take. There will only be so many carefree Sundays. Only a few moments when you are driving along with the love of your life and the chance to just explore. Only a handful of times when the sun will be shining and the geese are honking and the water of the lake is still except for the gentle plop every time a rock is skipped into it. All will be beautiful and in that moment, you will know that is right where you are meant to be.

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