Anyone who knows me at all knows that my heart belongs to summer. I love summer with its family barbecues and lazy days on the lake, with its gallons of sun tea and bowls of fresh fruit and homemade ice cream, with its dazzling flowers bursting into bloom and its garden vegetables falling from the vine. But as passionate as I am about my season in the sun, once September rolls around even I am ready to bid summer a fond farewell (for now!) and to embrace fall with welcoming arms.
Going back to work in the heat and humidity of August helps me to make my reluctant transition. When the temperatures are still in the mid-nineties, I am forced to exchange the comfort of shorts and flip-flops for the torture of constricting dress clothes and heels in a building with only spotty air conditioning. Supervising hallways with no ventilation but hundreds of sweaty bodies (mine included!) is not exactly an enjoyable, aromatic experience. With wet hair clinging to the back of my neck and sweat-soaked clothes sticking to my back, I anxiously await the first cool days of fall.
And when those cooler days finally arrive, I feel refreshed and revived. I can breathe again. And even though fall will never replace summer in my affections, it does have its own endearing advantages.
I love drifting into sleep to the tinkling of wind chimes outside my open window, feeling the cool breeze whispering through the curtains and knowing that the covers kicked back when I fall asleep will be wrapped around me when I awake.
I love the riot of reds, oranges and golds blazing across the tree-covered hillsides–such a calming display of beauty on my way to and from work every day.
I love the friskiness of my dogs in the crisp early mornings. Even my old, obese rottweiler is no longer panting in heated misery, instead frolicking and rolling with her much younger and trimmer counterpart.
I love visiting with old friends around a huge bonfire, reaching my fingers and toes toward the glowing warmth and staring into the flames as the firefly sparks drift lazily into the star-speckled night sky.
I love sipping on a cup of mulled cider, breathing in the delicious aroma and feeling the heat of the cup in my hands and the warmth of the cider all the way down to my toes!
I love the smell of burning leaves in the neighbor’s yard, and even more I love the scent of pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and cranberry compote candles burning on the kitchen counter.
I love the coziness of a Sunday afternoon spent in old blue jeans and an over-sized sweatshirt, rocking lazily in the porch swing with a good book in my lap and quiet all around.
I love seeing my breath in the brisk morning air (and exhaling profusely just to see it again!) and cranking up the car heater for just a few minutes to knock off the chill.
I love rolling through the countryside on the back of the motorcycle with the cool wind in my face but the rest of me toasty warm beneath my leather jacket, chaps and boots.
I even love counting the creepy tarantulas crossing the road in the afternoon sun (and wondering why I never see them crossing the road in the morning or any other time of the year).
And, more than anything, I love the feeding frenzy that fall incites. So often in the summer it is too hot to cook and too hot to eat; cold sandwiches with a side of raw fruits and veggies become the meal of choice. But as the temperatures drop and the winds pick up, I feel the sudden desire to once again dust off my neglected cookbooks and fire up my waiting stove. Brownies and chopped apple cakes and pumpkin pies and triple chocolate bundt cakes–calorie-laden delights too heavy for summer consumption are now a weekend necessity. And can there possibly be anything more comforting, more enticing, more appealing than a pot of soup simmering on the stovetop? Beef stew with hearty chunks of potatoes and carrots, chicken noodle soup sprinkled with rosemary and basil and thyme, potato soup bubbling with bacon and cheddar and green onions, and spicy chili spooned over Fritos and topped with melted cheese–talk about “lovin’ spoonfuls” and a little taste of Heaven on earth. I don’t know which is better–savoring that first delicious bowl or knowing that the pot is big enough to fill several more bowls in the days ahead.
Summer has a special place in my soul, a place that, sadly, fall will never infiltrate. But fall has definitely gotten under my skin, and I will embrace it and enjoy it and glory in its many charms until evil winter crashes in and delivers its fatal blow. (And that’s another story entirely.)