Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wonders of wonders

When I took my dog out for his morning walk something was different. It took me a moment to figure out what had changed when I suddenly realized it was cool! No really! And now, four hours later it is still cool! I suppose mother nature could be teasing me with this turn of events but, dare I say it? I think fall is finally here!

I love fall. It is far and away my favorite season, and sadly you don't really get fall here in the South. You get a few days at a time when it feels like fall, but summer generally rears its flaming head and tries to reinstate itself, succeeding for weeks at a time, even as late as November. Then winter comes along and strangles summer and fall and we are left with months of dreariness and no snow. The South doesn't really do winter very well either. Nine times out of ten the only "winter weather" we get is freezing rain or ice. Mostly it is just gray and windy and drab. For that matter spring only lasts about three weeks down here too. Blink and you will miss it.

But this isn't a post to kevetch about the weather. No, it is to celebrate all the wonderful things about fall. As a child, though I would never had admitted it then, I enjoyed the "back to school season." This wasn't because I was all that anxious to go back to school, but because it meant new clothes, and school supplies. I know this classifies me as a major nerd but picking out the new notebooks and things was always something I enjoyed, and I rather miss. Also the return to school did mean getting to see friends that I didn't typically see during the summer months and at least the prospect of something fun and exciting happening.

Furthermore, fall means football. I adore football! It is the vastly superior professional sport in this country, where almost every game means something and it is perfectly acceptable to yell "hit him!!" at the television. Not only that, but you have all the different levels to watch. High school on Friday (if you are so inclined), college on Saturday, and the NFL on Sunday. Plus, there are tailgating parties, marching bands, cheerleaders (hey, I was one, I enjoy the routines), and funny beer commercials.

Fall also is the domain of one of the more outlandish holidays, Halloween. Most people think of Halloween as children's territory, but as recently as 1900 it was a holiday for adults, with bonfires, courtship rituals, homemade treats, mischief that resulted in property damage and very macabre decor and costumes. Not gory costumes but creepy. It was really only with the advent of mass produced candy that the holiday became geared more towards children. Too many adults think it is beneath them to wear a costume on Halloween. This is ridiculous since we all wear masks every day (albeit not physical ones)and play different roles depending on who we are around. Why not embrace that fact and go for it? Sure you might look goofy or out of place, but if more people did it then you wouldn't now would you?

Other things I love about fall:
1. The turning of the leaves. I love seeing leaves are they really are, instead of as they hide themselves thanks to photosynthesis.

2. The smell of woodsmoke from a fire.

3. That brisk bite in the air that makes you crave hot chocolate or apple cider after you've been out walking the dog or raking leaves.

4. Fall foods: soups, ciders, apple desserts, pumpkin bread. You haven't had chicken noodle soup until you've tried my mother's. Bliss. Hmm.... I wonder how soon I can get her to make some.

5. Thanksgiving. I know that for most people this is a holiday of obligation, but for me it is one of my favorite holidays. I'm very fortunate in the fact that my family gets along and actually enjoys each others company. I come from a large family though, and Thanksgiving is really the only holiday of the year that virtually everyone gets together. Plus there is all of the outstanding food. And unlike on sitcoms we never have weeks of leftovers at my house. By Friday night all of the turkey, stuffing and gravy is gone, if not sooner. Gluttony, thy acolytes await you.

6. Christmas is just around the corner and there is that wonderful flurry of activity to look forward to.

There are more things that I love about fall of course, but I think I have prattled on long enough. Besides, I may wake up tomorrow to a 90 degree morning (God forbid).