It is three weeks past the official start of Autumn. September 23rd to be exact. In this part of the world, that does not really mean that much. Temperatures can still be high. Harvest is still in full gear. It is one of those seasonal changes that happens on the calendar and not anywhere else.
This week, nature is sending us the message that it is indeed Fall. Some leaves are changing colors, and others are falling to the ground. Squirrels are frantically burying acorns all over our yard. The neighborhood red fox is even roaming around.
For most of us, we feel Autumn when the temperatures drop. This is our first week of highs hovering around 70 degrees. The lows are in the high 40s and low 50s. It is cool enough to build a fire, turn on the heat, and maybe put a blanket on the bed.
There is a crispness in the air. We all experience that day when it first feels like Fall. After another brutal Summer, it is a relief. In the back of our minds, we know there may be another heat wave, but it will be short and bearable.
The sun rises and sets more directly in the south. The days get shorter at an increasing pace. The grass does not need cutting as often and the blooms on the flowers put on their last show.
For most of my life, Fall meant it was time for peanut harvest. A freshly plowed peanut field is still the sweetest smell I know. After I moved from peanuts to hamburgers, Fall meant money in the farmers’ pockets resulting in more hamburgers sold.
Now, Fall means tailgates for football games and long visits on our front porch. The firepit will be lit as soon as the wind dies down a bit. The many people walking in our neighborhood seem to be strolling for enjoyment, rather than pushing through the heat.
This is the first article of the year that I have written in front of our glowing fireplace. The warmth in the room seems right for this time. Another season has arrived, and it is one of my favorites.
I love living in an area that has four seasons. The older I get, the less I like the intensity of Summer. Spring is probably my favorite as green bursts forth in every direction. Blooming flowers, led by our tulips, bring color and hope following the bareness of Winter.
Fall gives a respite from the humid Summers. It gives a pleasant break before Winter arrives. Hal Borland once said that of all the seasons, Autumn offers the most to man, and requires the least of him”.
Maybe at some level, it is the sense that the hay is in the barn. The work is done, and it is a brief time to enjoy the changing colors and easing temperatures. The leaves fall, but then blow around in a dance resulting in piles made for children to enjoy. It is a break from the relentless march of time.
Walk out tomorrow and smell the crispness of the air. Observe the clearness in the sky. Enjoy a walk without sweat. Roll down those sleeves. After all, it is Fall, y’all.
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com