I bought some hot apple cider this afternoon and took a walk around Boulder, fogging up my sunglasses with cinnamon-nutmeg steam.
I forget how much I love autumn. I wrote a short story last year about "the season of turmeric and spices, of osmanthus and scarf-worn longing." Today there was a scarf — a red one, my favorite, that my friend Christian bought for me in India — but there was no longing. Just appreciation, a kind of breath-driven inner peace, the kind you feel after a deep stretch.
I love knowing a city so well. I know that when I walk past a certain cafe that my best friend's boyfriend will be in there, working away on his next book. I know that the bathroom code to the local bookstore changes every week, and I always remember it until it no longer works. I know which intersections are always okay to cross even when the lights are green, because they're hardly ever used.
I know it will take me 12.5 minutes to walk from my work to my favorite local gourmet deli, where I harass them for their wild Alaskan house-cured salmon. I love learning through Facebook that a favorite cafe — where Christian and I would discuss our impending plans to travel the world over mochas and scones — is now serving hot apple cider, made from locally-grown apples; I love that I can walk there from my job, which is less than .5 miles away, because everything is less than .5 miles away.
I love that last night, as I was eating a delicious squash risotto with my close girl friend at my favorite restaurant, the bar manager — also my ex and friend — pointed at a table of diners and said, "They grew that squash you're eating."
I love feeling like I'm the only one who knows where a beautiful tea house is right downtown, because there's hardly anyone there. I love having places to retreat outside of my home, and not having every inch of my city crowded with people.
I love knowing that at least one out of five of my closest friends will likely be at the local "herban" bar at any given point on a late afternoon, working on art, illustration, writing, or just drinking jun.
I like growing, and discovering that when I really want to live in a place — the settle-down kind of live — it will probably be a smaller city, because I just like knowing. My life is filled with going and staying, but I am gaining so much in the process.
And when it comes to Boulder — I'm so glad I stayed.