Fall arrives later here, the leaves changing throughout October and November, the trees finally bare by December. It's taken me a couple years to learn what life looks like in northern California, and slowly but surely it's starting to feel normal. Less and less I find myself saying, "Well, in the Midwest..." and "Back in Chicago..." but the comparisons are still there, and they always will be.
It's funny how much of home we carry within us, though, and how those everyday details you took for granted growing up feel so comforting after you've left. My parents' house always has some sort of warm, vanilla-cinnamon, we-just-baked-something scent, and I still don't quite know where it comes from because my mom definitely isn't a candle person. (One friend once joked, "It's probably just your mom, because if she had a scent, that would be it — all warm and cozy and Fall-like.")
I found that scent, though, in (yes) a candle I bought recently, and it's almost silly how much I've come to love it. I may not live in the same house, and the odd San Francisco mix of pines and palm trees may be a far cry from the tall oaks I'm used to, but damn if it doesn't smell like home around here. And damn if it doesn't feel like home, too... Although, you know, that probably has more to do with Radley than all the maple-hazelnut candles I'm burning, but still. The details help.