First Call for Fall!

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…

John Keats (1795-1821) 

I felt fall tonight (Sept. 11) for the first time this year… well in Houston, anyway. I had felt it twice before in other places, and both times, it was a delicious sensation, but to actually feel it in Houston this early is, simply ‘cool’! And it isn’t even autumn yet on the calendar! 

Fall may mean a season of twilight for some folks, but I’m still on a ‘school year’ schedule, even though I don’t really have to think about that sort of calendar much anymore. To me, fall will always mean a fresh new slate, with that thrill that a brand new notebook purchased along with all the other school supplies brings. The best new school supply ever was the unopened box of crayons with their sharp points of color just waiting to be selected. 

New clothes? Unfortunately, for grown ups, there is no good excuse to go buy new clothes for school anymore. But even if not new, my fall wardrobe is certainly different from my summer togs. I’m not wearing them quite yet, mind you, because summer weather WILL return down here no matter what the calendar says. Still, it will be fun to eventually ‘retire’ the clothes that I’ve been wearing for months for some more snuggly stuff. No more white pants after the fall equinox, for sure!  

What am I saying? I am the perennially cold person who quakes in church because the air conditioning is on full blast. While I’m at the grocery store, my hands grow numb in the freezer aisle. My favorite quip is that when the day comes that I finally hit menopause, I will NOT suffer from hot flashes, but rather I will enjoy ‘comfortable flashes.’ You may see me going ‘AHHHH’ at some random point as I bask in the heat.  

So. Where have I felt fall 2007 before now? The first time was in San Francisco in mid August, although it was just typical summer weather there. It was a nice break from the usual hot Houston weather, but I’m not sure I would want to be so cool all the time during the summer months. Still, it was invigorating to WANT to walk on the sunny side of the street, and to wear a light jacket in the evenings. However, just knowing it was typical of SF, I didn’t get into the fall spirit at the time; I just savored the sensation. 

Now when we went to New York at the end of August to visit Shannon up in the Hudson Valley, it was different. She had called us earlier in the week prior to our visit to say that it was getting chilly at night, so it might be good to bring a jacket. The reality was that in the span of three days, the temperature rose FORTY degrees, and it was in the nineties that Saturday of our visit! It was typical Houston weather, but certainly atypical for them, and we could see that people were NOT used to it.  

But a storm blew through that night, and the next morning, I felt the first harbinger of fall. It was wonderful to run in it, and even though it wasn’t all THAT cool, the front brought that certain brisk dryness to the air. As we strolled along and window-shopped in Rhinebeck later that Sunday, I bought a fuzzy pullover that will be great to wear later in the season.  

Back in Houston this week, I wasn’t the only creature to feel fall last night. The dogs felt it, too, and they were eager to go outside and sniff the breezes that came from somewhere north of here. That they didn’t want to come back inside was the proof.  

So fall is definitely on the way! It may still be warm during the days, but the sun is casting a longer shadow, and the light is more golden. Evenings and mornings are pleasant, and before we know it, we’ll be complaining about it being too cold. Don’t you just love it? It’s absolutely the most wonderful time of the year!

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