Well, the very short Fall has ended here in RVA. We tend to have a short consistently-warm Fall, and quickly the temperatures plummet around November until Spring peeks back out several months later. What's 'late' Fall in RVA like? Here in downtown and around Capitol Square we get wind. It comes up from the Bottom and it is always cold. Ripping-apart-your-outfit, fly your skirt up, magically-untwist-your-scarf-from-around-your-neck cold wind. It seeps into your bones like Richmond's summer humidity saturates your hair and skin. About one month into
'late' Fall, you start to question that you actually are living in the South. You might start planning a trip to Florida just to recover. That timeline sounds right, as Winter Solstice this year is December 21, and today started off in the high 30s.
What can be good about this weather? Well, dressing in layers and cooking the hearty foods of the season are things I always enjoy. People move more slowly in the cooler months, we are not running amok thanks to the numerous holidays that break up the season (my work gives me twelve paid holidays between now and March for example, hashtag blessed (barf)). (Then again, I don't have kids so maybe you all are more busy, for what it's worth I clearly don't know how that works). People moving more slowly means quality time with the people you care about the most. A brunch date with girlfriends can stretch into the afternoon and a Bravo marathon, and then before you know it it's dinnertime and you're still loving each others company with a delicious bottle of wine. You can spend more time on yourself without looking selfish – such as spending an extra 5 minutes leisurely applying that rich moisturizer into your dehydrated skin. The sauna at your gym may or may not become your best friend, and so what if you already have your Holiday playlist blasting in your car with your seat warmers on high?
I call this pre-Winter time 'fireplace weather.' Nothing breaks that chill better than parking next to the fireplace in your favorite dive bar, restaurant, house, or hotel. You can snuggle with your friends or a significant other, enjoying a hot tea, toddy, or chocolate. Slowly but deliciously, the tingling goes away from your fingertips and toes, and you eventually melt into the cushion (or person) you are leaning into. You can talk or not talk. Start that giant book you've had sitting around (or maybe you started it months ago and it's been long-neglected... sorry Thomas Jefferson by Willard Sterne Randall, those 736 pages are dry but I swear I will finish...) Napping is also a long-lost art that is wonderful during these cooler months and shorter days. Write letters to elders in your family – parents and grandparents (and great aunts/uncles if you have them!) love getting mail from their children. Pull out your board games stash – even better, Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity – and it'll be time to go (or go to bed) before you know it. Master making classic cocktails that you've read about in literature but have never seen on a bar menu. Long story short, the best thing about Fireplace Weather is that it completely relaxes you!
What are your favorite activities this time of year?