How I Know It’s Fall

Every season begins with a sense of suspicion. In Spring, it’s: Is it really getting warmer? Or is this just a fluke? and: Do you think it’ll snow again? Or is this the final melt? In autumn, it’s a matter of squinting at the thick belt of trees that line the Mississippi–which have been green for so long that it has seemed permanent–and noticing a hint of yellow. Is it the light? Or are they turning? I told myself it was the light. But now it’s truly fall.

Fall, in our new home, in this old town, means taking the air conditioners out of the windows, and leaving the windows cracked at night instead, so the cool, damp, breeze can spirit its way through the house and blow the debris of summer under the bed and into corners. It means wearing my down vest, so crucial a piece of clothing in San Francisco, on walks with the dog, and still noticing a little nip in the air. Maybe next time a hat?

The other day I went digging for a pair of socks and found some hats and gloves in a forgotten drawer–figured I ought to relocate those to a more accessible place now, near the front door. And while I’m at it, those tank tops probably don’t need to be taking up precious real estate. It’s also probably time to figure out how to work that quirky little sauna in our basement (it’s a Scandinavian thing).

It’s strange to recall that I went through several falls in the Bay Area, and never did it feel like this. I remember being surprised, and delighted, that despite the Bay Area’s reputation for having only two seasons, the leaves do indeed turn in Berkeley, and the air shifts, and memories of falls from childhood come with all of it just like anywhere else. Always though, it was a matter of the leaves, and the air and the smells, reminding me of a much more distinct season in another place. I noticed other people saying it too– like the East Coasters, who would grin and say, it feels like back-to-school time in New York.

I don’t think it’s so much about the place as it is about the choice. We’ve chosen to be here now, and in return, we’ve been given a little bit of ownership over everything beautiful that happens here, like the seasons turning. It could very well be homeownership that’s changed my perspective. Or just growing older. I’m not sure.

Our house is finally coming together here, thanks to a couple great Craigslist finds, a paint job or two, lots of little fix-it projects, and a dog, whose energy makes it all flow together just right. In honor of the cooling weather, perhaps it’s time for a little virtual housewarming– I’ll take some pics of the homestead and post them soon.

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