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Anticipating Fall and Looking for Constants


Welcome. Sam’s off for a couple weeks, so I’ll be keeping you company at home for a spell.

It’s mid-August, the time of the season when the days start to cool a bit, at least here in the northeast, when those people who love the fall start to anticipate the brisk days, and those who prefer summer begin to worry about daylight saving time ending and it getting dark before dinner.

I’m in the latter crew, and while it’s a stretch to say that this summer has been anything like the endless, sun-baked, beach-and-cookout idylls of past years, I’m clinging to the warm weather even more steadfastly than usual this August. Spending leisure hours outside, even when the mosquitoes make a meal of me as they did during a walk last night, has been a balm in a stressful time. (Margaret Roach’s In the Garden column has taught me a lot about appreciating nature this summer.)

One constant has been music. I noticed recently that the music I was listening to when quarantine began in March is the music I still listen to every day, the music that has formed my soundtrack to these months. No matter what I’m doing — cooking dinner, showering, staring into space, walking to meet friends for a socially distant stoop hang — I’m listening to and getting comfort from the same albums. My relationship to and dependence on them feels profound, akin to the way I listened to and sang along with and identified with albums as a teenager. I’m grateful for the music. The changing of the season brings with it a lot of uncertainty. Having small constants to lean on helps.

On my soundtrack: Emily King, “Scenery”; Waxahatchee, “Saint Cloud”; Nadia Reid, “Out of My Province.”

What’s on your soundtrack? Write and let us know: athome@nytimes.com. And tell us what you think, what you’re wondering, how we can help. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more ideas for living a good life at home and near it appear below.

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