Monday, October 6, 2014 / 5:00 AM

Autumn in Virginia, 2011
Dear autumn,

I can feel it in the air: you're here.

This is what I've always liked best about you--your sudden entrance, the confidence in the temperature drop. It's never unexpected, but always a bit surprising. I welcome it.

I welcome it because it feels as if the world has slowed down just for one minute while I catch my breath. The breeze is refreshing, the trees are changing, and there's something about scarves and coats and hats that I can never dismiss.

2014 has been a strange year. It's been filled with loss and love and olive branches and rejected twigs. New York City continues to grow on me as I discover the corners of this world I never knew before. And while I'm still exhausted at the thought of existing here forever, I cannot help but feel blessed when I remember that I'm lucky to be standing again on my own.

But 2014 has also broken my heart, and I've had to learn how to be at peace with the type of goodbyes that nobody can ever really prepare for--the type of goodbyes that leave you wondering why bad things happen to good people. What is it that can make a person feel so at peace in such a chaotic world?

And then there are the goodbyes that are less permanent, and met with an entirely different attitude: the kind of goodbyes that come with choosing new paths and the kind of goodbyes that can lead to new hellos. It's exciting, and I am ready for it. I am.

Elizabeth Lawrence wrote about you once, "Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." I think, autumn, that despite the tears that accompany the seasonal rain, I am looking forward to all that can happen as time keeps lurching forward. I don't want to sleep through any of it the way I have in the past.

Xx, traci.

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