Last night you found yourself rummaging through your closet looking for that one colorless, shapeless sweater you've had for years and years, the one you can't remember where you got it from, but somehow always turn to when the nights get longer and cooler. The soft cotton on the inside has been loved off by time and use so all that remains is a thin pelt. The sleeves are frayed and overstretched, the neck a loose ribbon around your shoulders. There it is, buried in the back with your coats. It occurs to you as you pull this soft shell over your head that it is officially sweater season--and that you have one for just about every important occasion. This is the sweater you wear at the end of the week when all you want to do is curl up on the couch, eat popcorn and watch a movie.
But there are so many others that you love and look forward to wearing as the earth prepares itself for a season of quiet and rest. There is the basic oatmeal sweater, perfect for rolling up its sleeves for a morning in the kitchen baking bread or dipping apples in warm caramel and nuts. It is homey and solid, like the loaf you just pulled from the oven. And you can't forget the rose-hued one that falls off your shoulders, ideal for an afternoon of drinking cinnamon tea and getting lost (found?) in a book--fairy tales, mysteries, gothic novels...doesn't matter. But the sweater does, somehow making the afternoon complete, allowing you to let down and even doze off in your overstuffed chair, the rose cloth wrapped around you like a blanket.
Or there is the heather purple one essential for raking up leaves and putting your garden to rest for the season; it is light enough to keep you cool as you labor, with long sleeves to protect you from the prickly bones of dried plants, skeletal trees, and the early morning bite. You don't fret over messing it up as you would one of your teaching blouses because it was made for getting dirt and crumbled leaves on its cuffs.
You look at the sweater you are wearing now, the one you paused your writing for long enough to slide your arms into before returning to that next page. The open window brings in the cool, lush air of the season; your writing cardigan (a sub-genre of the autumn sweater) and cup of chai tea, echoing the heavy scents of autumn, chase away the chill. You love this sweater perhaps most of all (though you say that about each one as you don it and feel the memories stitched into its fabric rub against your skin). This sweater is long and faded, the color of sage, with fat pockets for storing seeds or tea leaves or a few words. There are no buttons to this cardigan, so you must make peace with the fact that it must always be open, as you must be to your stories and experiences, wherever they may take you. This one is made for loosely wrapping around yourself just as you wrap your words around you for comfort and healing as you descend into the realm of stories.
Yes, it is sweater season now. You look forward to being once again in the folds of these unassuming sweaters, these garments that reflect the quietest, most intimate snapshots of your life. The moments you live without ceremony or the awareness of anything other than dipping your caramel apple into a shallow tray of sunflower seeds.
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