There is a day in August that I yearn for: when crickets begin to chorus, when the light shifts and the nights go cool. There it is, the turn of summer, and with it the urge to make ready once again for the next season. As surely as Monarch butterflies are once more migrating to Mexico and my neighbor repeats his annual stacking of a third cord of firewood, I lift the lid of my cedar chest and breathe in the scent of wool.
The cedar chest is a memory cave. In a moment akin to meeting dear friends after a long separation, I peer in and fondly survey a collection of scarves, sweaters, and mittens dutifully folded away at the first heat of summer. At least eight weeks have passed without wearing wool! My impatience with late July’s heat and humidity fade. In that heap of color and texture is the promise that sweater weather is imminent. Here begins my autumnal ritual of renewing my acquaintance with my three-season companions. I’m caught up in the joy of reunion and, on closer observation, practicality. What? Missing buttons? Spaghetti sauce on the elbow of my best pullover? Holes in my cashmere scarf?