My favorite season starts today. Autumn, cozy autumn, with its luscious blue skies and flaming maple trees and bushels of sweet-tart fruit. With its long pants and light sweaters and cotton scarves for fun. With its pumpkins, its cinnamon, its cider and plum tarts. With its reds and golds and fireside oranges. With its grapevines and gourds and gallons of leaves swirling on the breeze. With its pine cones underfoot, extra blankets on the bed, with its sensual scents in the kitchen. Autumn is bounty. Autumn is gratitude. Autumn is reward for services rendered. It is the promise that death is not to be feared, but to be seen for its beauty in transition. Autumn is hope. Hope and knowledge that life continues, even when it is breaking down, breaking open, breaking new ground that bares the soul. Autumn is perfection in its release. Perfection in its strength to let go. Autumn is rich. Ripe. Regal in the gifts it bestows. Autumn is wisdom in maturity. Autumn is praise for the latter stages of life. Autumn is triumph and glory and the sweet smell of wood-smoke. It is caramels and apples and kisses. My favorite season starts today. Autumn, crisp and cozy autumn. Welcome.