It seems to always happen this way; the start of a new school year marks the unofficial end of summer. With temperatures hot and humidity high we begrudgingly acquiesce. Well some do, the rest of us, in denial that this is happening, make a point of soaking up every last bit of summer - we swim in pools and hit the lakes and beaches late afternoon before the sun does set set. We refuse to pack up our flip flops, shorts and sun dresses. We treat ourselves to ice cream cones, and dine on patios. We refill our glasses with white wine and rose, for it is much too warm for a full bodied red. "Summer is not over!" we declare tread lightly into the next season, and yet, overnight, almost by a stroke of magic, the weather cools and a new season does roll in.
And we wakeup one morning and suddenly it does seem very much like fall. Some leaves begin to turn vibrant shades of orange and yellow, but for the most part the trees are as green and vibrant as they have been. The skies are just as bright and as blue as they have been. And the ocean hasn't shed her summer hues either. But something is noticeably different. Suddenly there's a crispness in the air; a cool gentle breeze that gently causes trees to sway and leaves to fall... In the distance I can hear the leaves rustling, I can hear the sweet, soothing sounds of the wind chimes on my porch. It is dark now when we wake and the sun's slumber starts earlier and earlier with each and every passing day. For those of us who live in New England we're very much in tune with this season's idiosyncrasies - for cool days and nights often lend themselves those of hotter summer days. For we are too aware of our Indian Summers to sit back with relaxing sigh. We know that although summer is now bidding us adieu, she is doing so reluctantly. She'll throw a few more hot days our way simply to confuse us so that we won't know how to dress when the leaves start to fall.
Will we need warm woolen blankets, or crisp cotton dresses? It would be wise if we had both - we'll most likely need them. Will our children parade through our streets wearing the most fantastic of costumes, or will they be bundled beneath coats of down? Will we want to light our fireplaces, or open up our windows? This is a typical New England weather pattern. So completely unpredictable.
Today marks the first official day of fall. Now we seem ready. We rejoice... We longingly anticipate the beauty that the season brings, the vivid colors, the aromatic smells and and flavors. We nostalgically look forward to picking apples, selecting the perfect pumpkin, sipping on warm cider in the stadiums... We long for the first fire, the first frost, the first home made apple pie and all those other wonderful cool weather meals... We long for cool rainy days beneath blankets watching movies and reading books - We welcome the excuse to do nothing at all. We'll look forward to football games and carving pumpkins and hayrides and getting lost in corn mazes. Autumn is a season of opposites, I find. It's a season of slowing down and yet it's such a busy time of year. But is there a season that isn't busy? This fall let's make a pact - let's make a promise that no matter how fast we're going and no matter how many directions we're being pulled, that we will pause, even for just a moment... that we will notice the beautiful, bright and vibrant colors... that we will feel the cool and gentle breezes... that we inhale the wonderful aromas coming from our ovens... that we will taste the wonderful flavors... that we might bite into a freshly picked apple, or sip warm cider, or a Pumpkin Spice Latte if that's your preference... And if you've no time to hit the pumpkin patch or apple orchard, that maybe you'll place a bowl of apples on your counter, or a pumpkin by your front door. If you don't have a fireplace (or haven't had it cleaned out yet) light a few candles. If you can't slow down, do stop - even if just for a moment.