Nobody in All of Oz

October ends in just a few short days. It’s my favorite month every year because of its richness. There’s never a shortage of people to see and places to appreciate. The change of summer into autumn is one of the most striking changes in a year. Autumn bleeds to winter, winter quietly melts into spring, and the buzz of spring crescendos into summer, but summer into autumn more resembles the reverberations of crashing waves on seaside rocks. The colors come alive with a fierce boldness. The weather cools in the moment you least expect it. The hustle of pulling boots out of storage and savoring every color makes my heart tighten and my breath catch.

It’s wild to me how quickly this month has passed. I spent ten of its middle days dodging tornados, snuggling nuggets, and celebrating legacies in Georgia. Mountain Day this year felt more special than it normally does. There was a different richness in our conversations maybe because I was the prodigal returning home for it or because the wildest circumstances brought us all back like a magnet when we hadn’t intended it. I hugged people my heart has dearly missed for months and hugged them again for good measure. Donna came to the mountain and we finally got our Mountain Day picture, reminiscing about years past and places to see in the north. Joseph, Abby, and I mapped out our longterm futures over Blue Moons & burgers at Harvest Moon. Em flew down from Chicago for an awful reason, but it meant she was there walking tent village with me hugging our friends from the Alumni office like the Berry fanatics we are. Bell drove up from Macon for our tenth Mountain Day and the Sunshine gang all made it back together.

I have had a lot of time to think in Boston, a lot of hotel nights and weekends wandering, wondering. I think I was mad at everyone who told me me it was good to leave because I wanted them to need me to stay. I was excited but I was also upset and there was a light switch between the two that kept getting flipped until it all felt like lightning. But part of me knew this was right so I jumped. I tend to jump fast because if I don’t I won’t ever do it. I will fall into fear faster than I can take a step forward. I’ll lose all intuition and gumption and I’ll just stay, comfortable. A change of pace, change of scenery, always leads to better perspectives.

I’ve got this silly book idea in my head, or really in my heart, that may only be good for reading when I stop remembering. It’s a collection of silhouettes, cameos, word portraits, love letters of my favorite people. Nobody in all of Oz could imagine the richness of the people I know.

In all of this I’ve had to dig deep and decide what I want to do, something Donna has asked me countless times over the years. At the end of the day, what is it that I could do for the rest of my life and truly be joyful over, even in the mundane of it all. So I’ve rekindled a lifelong dream and, for the first time, feel like it could really come true.

Boston is part of that plan right now with its multitude of literary landmarks. I’m truly enjoying this New England season. It’s hardest being far from my people, but I’ve never appreciated technology more than I do now (except maybe after China). Whether we’re talking about book plots, the weather, some weird new thing Berry is doing, or just pretending to eat lunch together over video chat, my convos with Home are precious.

I’ve signed my name to the lease of a pretty adorable apartment and am waiting with bated breath for all of my heavy furniture to be delivered from Georgia. Fingers crossed it will be here before the end of the month. I’m going to all but miss decorating for fall, but over my dead body will I miss decorating for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I’ve fallen in a deep hard love with LL Bean. I may need professional help, but I got adorable winter pillows and the tree skirt on my wishlist (and more flannel) on sale! LL Bean will help keep me warm this winter and I have no shame about it or my growing collection of puffy vests and boots.

Needless to say, this has been one hairy transition that still isn’t over and I wrestle with the feelings of it all on a regular basis, but this was the right move so I’m going to settle in to this coming winter wonderland with warm blankets, hot cocoa, and open eyes.

My sincerest gratitude and heartfelt love to everyone who’s wrestled and lamented (or listened to me lament) my leaving Rome. I couldn’t imagine a better community, near or far. I can’t wait to see you all in New England soon! I will be chronicling my adventures as best as possible here and in photo albums on Facebook/Instagram.


*Side note: I will also be catching up on all my missed book reviews since May. I’m currently in the middle of book 42 for the year! 50 here I come!