Many of my Facebook friends were thrilled with autumn’s arrival last week.
They’re happy that the time has come to don sweaters, boots and hoodies. They extol the virtues of crisper temperatures and the beauty of the trees exchanging their own wardrobes from green to gold and red.
As I’ve often written in this space, I’m not a lover of fall. To me, it means things are dying. The trees gradually rid themselves of those glistening leaves, and on the ground, only the hardiest bloom can withstand the frigid nights. Most wind up as shriveled, decaying stalks that bear little resemblance to the plant’s July glory. That’s why I was never a fan of this season.
Nor am I a fan of the colder temperatures that the thermometer outside our kitchen window portends. Some – like my autumn-loving pals – prefer to label fall temperatures as “brisk,” but whom are they trying to kid? Once there’s a heavy layer of frost on everything in sight, it’s downright cold, pure and simple.
One would think the foods of autumn would be enough to make me a fan. I love sticky caramel apples and hot soups on the slow cooker. I’ll admit it’s nice to cook without sweltering in the kitchen in the process. Still, I feel a bit sad with the arrival of fall.
Of course, gridiron buffs typically can hardly wait for autumn. This year, without the benefit of a preseason and with stadium seats speckled with cardboard cutouts, pro football is in its third week of competition. As the television commercial says, “Are you ready for some football?” For that pigskin fan in the coronavirus era, the answer is a resounding “you betcha!”
Although many loyal fans are foregoing their football viewing depending on whether a team kneels or not during the national anthem, that’s a subject for another day.
Autumn is big business for many locales but is not always as predictable as those folks would like. For example, a few years ago, my brother and his wife took a trip to New England as “leaf-peepers,” a term locals there use for visitors traveling to that part of America to see the reds and golds of maple trees. Evidently, the fall colors were “behind schedule” in syrup country that year – as if Mother Nature can be reduced to an unequivocal schedule.
Naturally, everything about this year is behind schedule. In truth, this year has turned any kind of schedule inside out and scrunched it up like the shriveled leaves on our lawn. Poet J.J. Britton (1832-1913) put it this way, “And the Autumn clutches the forests green in a hasty and eager clasp; but the leaves are true to the Summer they love, and they wither and fade in his grasp.”
Unlike my autumn-loving pals, I’m adjusting poorly to the sad truth: Summer is over. It officially ended last week with the autumn equinox, and the cooler weather punctuates the fact.
I’ll say it again: I think I was born in the wrong geography. In my soul, I’m a California girl at heart; I simply love warm weather. Thus, when the days get shorter and cooler, and I start trading shorts and T-shirts for sweatshirts and coats, I have but one response: Heavy sigh ….