Fall is my favorite time of year. In Alabama we get the first taste of it in early September when there are couple of days in a row where the high is 75 degrees or less. It's exhilarating. It's a promise that the summer will actually end. Summer here lasts for 4 to 5 months and it's just brutal. A slow succession of days characterized by extreme heat, humidity and sweat. I hate it. But this past weekend was glorious. I wore heavy dark denim, boots and a wool shirt to celebrate fall's triumphant return.
But it was more than just fall that I was celebrating. I hit a milestone as a business woman. I signed a lease for a storefront studio space. You see for the past three years I have built my business out of my house, specifically my semi-unfinished basement. When you start a business you really have no idea if you will succeed. You have to make the most of your available resources, work your ass off and hope for the best.
Because the basement was one of my most valuable available resources, I learned to love certain things about it. I tried to stay focused on what it offered rather dwell on its pitfalls. Even though it had no sink, which meant that I had to get water from and wash all my containers at a hose outside in the front yard, it had this magical window in the corner. The light that came through it was straight out of a Vermeer. Absolutely perfect soft filtered side light.
The window and I developed quite a routine. When I made an arrangement that I was particularly fond of, I would set it on the ledge next the the window. I would turn off all of the lights, some were bare bulbs which I had to carefully unscrew while trying not to think about the outdated 1927 wiring. In order to have enough space to photograph, I'd shove all my big buckets of tall branches out of their home so that I could finagle myself into the best position to find the perfect iPhone photo to post on Instagram. Sometimes I'd end up climbing on top of the cold concrete ledge so that I could be on the same plane as the flowers. We called the whole process Special Instagram Time. I think I'll miss it. But damn it as much as I might, I'll finally have a mop sink - the thought of which is producing misty tears of joy as I write this. A real mop sink. Sniff, sniff.
So anyway, back to my fabulous fall wardrobe. As I walked the sidewalks of Birmingham in my bad ass booties and tough dark denim this weekend, a cool breeze delivering me from summer's hateful grip, I felt like a damn champion. This business and I have been through a lot. It hasn't always been pretty flowers and Vermeer side light. The learning curve was steep and humbling. But I never gave up. Even when I was washing buckets on a tarp in the front yard in the August sun slapping the mosquitos feeding on my ankles and humming the theme to Samford and Son as I stared at the giant piles of flower trash on my curb, I knew deep down that just like the seasons do eventually change, my time would come to leave the basement.
My very own storefront is coming soon. Sniff, sniff.
Photo: Rylee Hitchner