"Every leaf speaks bliss to me / Fluttering from the autumn tree."
- Emily Brontë

Fall is here, and I am in HEAVEN. If there is one thing I missed the most about my home region while living in Los Angeles, it was autumn. There is absolutely nothing better than crisp air, the smell of decaying leaves, and driving along roads laden with candy-colored canopies. When the temperatures get cooler, the pace of life slows down a bit. It becomes more acceptable to spend time inside, and those of us without air conditioning can actually sleep with a blanket or two. 

As this past August and September crept along, I tried my hardest not to wish the summer away, because in about three months I will be singing a very different tune, but for now...I'm very, very happy. 

Something you will notice about almost every photo in this post is that there is still at least a little bit of green hanging around. In some spots, it doesn't even look like the seasons have begun to change. There are many plants that have taken on gorgeous pastel hues; while their sister trees have erupted into flames of color, they have opted instead to go a more subtle route, gently fading into the transition of the seasons. 

For me, autumn equals a mix of nostalgia and dreaming about the future. It's the season of my birthday, the beginning of each new school year, and of camping, cabins, and all things cozy. It's also a season of contemplation. I wrap myself in the comfort of annual traditions while at the same time wondering what my life is going to look like in the years to come. My daydreams used to be all over the place, but this year I finally feel like I'm at a place where my vision has become more concrete; I understand myself and the kind of life that will make me happy better than ever before, and I am determined to make shit happen. 

I went on a bike ride a couple of days ago, with the intent of getting some exercise and fresh air. The latter was in full supply, but the former was a little harder to come by because of the number of times I found myself screeching to a halt to go back and capture the way the sinking sun hit a smattering of orange leaves, or how even the air seemed to glow golden because of a roof of yellow overhead.

When I have my camera with me, it becomes hard to focus on anything else but my surroundings, so much so that I've started leaving my camera behind for the sake of at least trying to be fully in the moment. I believe (I hope) that my loved ones have ceased to take it personally when I interrupt conversation to run ahead or lag behind and kneel in a weird position and furiously click away at my shutter button like a crazy person. This is why I often like to venture out on my own. I love the company of others, but there is something to be said for walking down a leaf-strewn path and feeling like I'm the only person for miles around, free to take as long as I want to find the perfect angle to capture shafts of light arching through the tree branches. 

I have an almost constant ache in my heart from wondering which direction my life is heading, and I've gone back and forth between wanting to be completely open and vulnerable on this blog, and wanting to hold my thoughts as close to my heart as possible. This phase I am in is completely strange and new to me. I've never felt more alone, and I've never had more hope (or, paradoxically, more doubts) about my potential to craft an existence that is truly mine. I am so dizzyingly free to do whatever I want that it sometimes overwhelms me.

So...pretty much what I'm trying to say is that I am the epitome of First World Problems. 

In the meantime, I'm going to give myself some space to be totally blissed out on this season. It's all about finding a balance between striving and rest, and sometimes all I need to increase my motivation is to let my mind take a break by going outside and taking a few deep breaths.