During the first Fall after my father passed away, I remember one particularly gloomy and rainy weekend in late September/early October. I’d lost him in the middle of the Summer that year- and the weeks that followed were spent making arrangements, tying up loose ends he hadn’t gotten to before he’d died, helping my mother through the process and accommodating relatives and family friends who’d been mourning and visiting- all while working full-time and simultaneously trying to adjust to the “new normal” without him.
It left little time for anything else, and months later- during that aforementioned gloomy and rainy weekend- I found myself with the first bit of unplanned and unscheduled “free time” I’d had in a long while. There were no meetings, no obligations, no deadlines or planned visitors. It was just me and a couple of days where I could pause and take a breath.
I’d opted to go for a drive that weekend, I believe to Danvers- and took the scenic route from Central Massachusetts where I had been staying for a period of time to be closer to my family. I’d grabbed a salted caramel coffee and was listening to a Fall-inspired playlist that matched my mood and the weather (it included a lot of Death Cab For Cutie, if anyone was curious) when I came upon a sprawling greenhouse/garden center along the roadside in Wayland, Massachusetts- the exterior completely surrounded by pumpkins and Fall decor.
I’d stopped- not only to stretch my legs but to pick up a pumpkin since it had dawned on me at the time that my favorite season was underway but I’d been too busy and too sad to even decorate properly. A pumpkin seemed like a good place to start to get me out of the rut I had been in for weeks.
The store was Russell’s Garden Center and it quickly became one of my “must visit” places in the Fall (and around the holidays, too- since they have a ton of cute Christmas stuff come Wintertime.) While they have plenty of plants, seeds, and tools for gardening enthusiasts- they also carry locally made food, clothing, gifts and home decor that almost always fits my aesthetic at any given time.
I recently stopped by to pick up a pumpkin- of course- but also grab a couple of things to add to my Autumnal-inspired decorations I’ve gradually started to place around my apartment in-between working remotely and running errands.
Russell’s has made it really easy to socially distance, with marked floors inside the store- but also by moving a significant amount of their products outside alongside readily available staff and cashiers for easy and limited contact checkout. I was able to look around with peace of mind until I found the perfect pumpkin and some additional wall/window decorations I’ll be putting up in my living room a little later on this week.
Russell’s is open year-round, so I’m sure I’ll be back one of the next times I’m taking the scenic route to Boston again. Maybe I’ll stop by sooner than later and get a few more pumpkins. You can never have too many, after all.