Friday, August 14, 2015

Confessions of the Fall-Obsessed

It's the end of summer, sort of, at least according to our family schedule. However, here in the Deep South, the weather is stubbornly indifferent to the fact that school has started and that GAP is happily marketing their fall cardigans and skinny corduroys. Starbucks, and every other coffee shop from here to Portland, is gearing up for their pumpkin-spice latte-palooza when they'll push that beverage like it's a drug and droves of people (myself unabashedly included) will run to order one like we've spent the last ten months in PSL detox.

The perfect apple-picking hat.
Within mere weeks, women will overtake social media with declarations of their unbounded love for tall boots and they'll wear them like autumnal badges of honor with their darkest, skinniest jeans. And soon enough, floaty scarves and puffy vests will be as ubiquitous as the Kardashians, and all this before our awkward summer tan lines have even come close to fading.

And yet, where I live, it's still absolutely and completely summer and so all this almost-fall-ish business is making my autumn-loving heart a little overanxious for this hot and humid season to wrap itself up.

I want it to be fall already. Actually, I want it to be fall all year long. Sometimes I wonder if this is some sort of clinical condition that I have, this pining for days when the yard is covered up with multi-colored leaves and I'm snugly buttoned up in my cardigan, cradling a steaming mug full of tea with both hands. Oh, and in this perfect fall moment, there's also a flannel blanket tucked around my feet and You've Got Mail is streaming on Netflix and the pumpkin cookies I just baked are cooling in the kitchen. And maybe there's also a pumpkin spice candle burning somewhere in my house.

This fall obsession business could be a sickness, really. But, if being clinically obsessed with fall is wrong, maybe I don't want to be right.

Sometimes, to make myself feel better about it still being summer, I order a latte and sit in the car with the air conditioning on full blast, staring out at the sunny day, imagining that it's not a blistering 97 degrees or that I could bake Break and Bake cookies on my dashboard if I turned the car off for approximately four minutes. (#gross)

Let's get cozy. (
I'm aware that I have become a complete and utter stereotype with my love of cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, pumpkin farm visits, etc, etc, etc. And, while all that's true, I genuinely think there's more to my affection for this particularly fleeting season. There's something nostalgic and romantic and magical about autumn that can't adequately be expressed in any kind of way that captures it well enough.

Even in the midst of all the PSL drinking and burning candles with names like "Harvest Farm Apple Caramel Pie with Roasted Marshmallows" while wearing my coziest GAP cardigan,  I can't help feeling a little miffed at all the commercialism that swallows up fall every year.

Starbucks has brilliantly cornered the market on a beverage that has come to signify the official start of the fall season. And, while I obviously can't deny my love of a steaming PSL (despite it's 5,640 calories and possible pesticide residue, if you believe Food Babe), I wish that a marketing department's bottom line wasn't so obviously overshadowing the beauty and quiet melancholy of the season I love best.

Yes to this.
I read an article the other day that tried to parse out the reason why people, women especially, love fall so ardently and the author theorized about romanticizing a particular period of time or lending significance to a time of the year based on events or experiences one might have had in the past. And maybe that's true. Maybe the allure of fall has something to do with the fresh start a new year at school might have represented or, if you're Southern like myself, perhaps the allure is simply the hope of glorious relief from three months of HOT.

For me, fall's appeal has something to do with the way my perspective changes whenever the shadows begin to lengthen and the sunlight slants through the trees in the late afternoon. I love the feeling that nature is giving itself a rest and that the summer riot of the growing season is finally taking a breath and giving in to the repose that nature demands. The slow march to winter, the gradual quieting of nature, the leaves lit up like the last glowing embers of a dying fire. Autumn is nature's long and golden sigh before it slips into its winter sleep and I plan to drink in each and every fleeting minute of it.

And so, despite the heat and humidity outside my window and the fact that fall won't arrive in my part of the world for at least another six weeks, here's to anticipating it's coming and savoring its moody loveliness.

It was November,
the month of crimson sunsets,
parting birds,
deep, sad hymns of the sea,
passionate wind songs in the pines.
L.M. Montgomery


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