Geography / Seasons / The South / Uncategorized

Autumn’s respite

This blurry picture shows the tree leaves just barely beginning to change colors.

This blurry photo was taken while I was driivng in an attempt to capture the first unfurling of fall’s colors.

My husband is beaming.  He’s thrilled. He wakes up and grins.  When we step outside, he takes deep breaths of the cool air.

I wrap my fuzzy robe around me tighter and grip my mug of hot coffee.  I smile because he’s grinning.

Inside, I sigh.

It’s fall.

I’ve been distracted so long that my “Fall is on its way” post is now “Fall is here all ready”.

In Tennessee, fall is one of the four clear-cut seasons that in my youth were things I’d only heard about in books and movies and visiting relatives.

Fall is a much-needed respite from the sweltering heat of humid summers.  I knew it was coming but wasn’t ready for it.  If we weren’t so spoiled with air conditioning, I’d probably be more appreciative of the cooler weather.

I smelled fall in the cool air of twilight weeks ago.

Then one day, a week or so ago, someone flipped a switch.

The past few days have been much cooler and nights are almost cold.  (“Cold” is a relevant term.  What I’d once considered cold – 45 degrees – I know now to be fairly warm).  Temperatures dropped to 40 degrees last night.  We turned on our heater for the first time in our house (first time since the home inspector ran it).

The rest of the week is supposed to warm up a bit, but nothing like the scorching heat of this year’s drought-inducing weather.

Fall brings changing leaves.  I realized a couple of weeks ago, over night it seemed, that the leaves of the trees weren’t quite as green.  Their colors are dulling.  A few brilliant red leaves adorn the tips of the treetops.  The humidity is gone, for the most part.  The bugs – the incessant, relentless flesh-eating insects – are finally dying off.

I once saw autumn colors on a road trip from New York City up to Niagara Falls.  That was the only time I’d ever seen such colorful trees, such colorful leaves.  I was twelve at the time.

Last year, during our first autumn here, I watched the leaves change slowly.  The leaves start to change at the top and work their way down.

They are beautiful – these leaves of brilliant red, golden yellow, and burnt orange.  Soon, we’ll make a trip to a local apple orchard.  We’ll purchase pumpkins and make pies and cookies and decorate for the fall holidays.

Fall is gorgeous, a celebration of life and energy well spent during spring and summer.

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