My first September away from New Orleans, I woke up one morning and it was 50 degrees. In September! I said to my then-boyfriend-now-husband: “Wow. It sure gets cold early here.” And he said, “This is cold?” That didn’t bode well.
About a week later, it was 40 degrees. I pulled on the warmest clothes I had (which were quite obviously inadequate) and said to him through chattering teeth, “It doesn’t get colder than this, does it?” And he said, hastily, “Um. Look at how pretty the leaves are!” And I agreed. The leaves were gorgeous. But then they fell off the trees! And it got even colder. I decided I hated autumn. And then winter came, and I hated that even more.
That winter was brutal. The days were short and gray and colder than anything I’d ever experienced. I spent nine more autumns and eight-and-a-half more winters in the Midwest, and I never could get over that sick feeling of dread that I felt every single time I had to turn the calendar page from August to September.
Finally, I had enough. Despite all the reasons to stay, I left. I simply couldn’t take another winter.
And now that it’s September again, I keep waiting for the cold. I know it’s silly to claim I have post-traumatic stress disorder in a city that is still legitimately reeling from an actual trauma, but I really do find myself having flashbacks to autumns past, bracing myself for a winter assault that I keep blessedly remembering isn’t coming. When I remember that these early autumn days will not give way to ear-numbing cold, I am filled with a rush of pure joy.
As I put together this magazine, featuring our first class of Design Masters, one theme came through loud and clear: Sometimes you just have to turn your back on what makes sense and do what makes you happy. All of our honorees echoed the sentiment that if they weren’t doing their current jobs, they’d be slogging away in an office dreaming about doing what they currently do. And I think that’s what makes them so great — their joy and passion and enthusiasm for their jobs come through loud and clear. I am sure they know that rush of joy — the same one I get when I remember that I might not even have to dig out my down jacket this winter — quite well and that it informs everything they work on, every single day. Although our cover girl, lüm vintage lighting and accessories’ Adrienne Casbarian, doesn’t have much in common with Renaissance Shop’s John Bonomo on the surface, the two are both fabulous at what they do because they are fueled by a true love of their respective crafts. And there’s no substitute for that, no way to fake it.
The summer is winding down, folks, slowly and subtly, like it does in New Orleans.
We don’t have the gorgeous multicolored leaves — but we don’t have bare, ugly trees by November either. The days are getting shorter, even if they’re not getting cooler, and before long, it will be Halloween, then Thanksgiving. Christmas seems a very long way off at this point, but it’s never too early to start thinking — on a large scale — about what you want.