It’s finally cool here, the way the fall is supposed to be cool. We’ve finally turned off our ac and opened the windows and are comfortably sleeping upstairs, even when we sleep through the heat of the day. It’s such a relief after the heat of last month – particularly since our ac has been acting up and our apartment managers haven’t seen fit to have it looked at since it unfreezes by the time they get to it the next day. *breath out* But that’s not what this is about. This is about the start of a beautiful season.
I actually knew a couple of weeks ago, before the air cooled, that autumn was finally here. Around here, autumn hits when the red lilies start to sprout like weeds. From the best of my google skills, I’d say they are spider lilies and they are gorgeous. I’ll have to try to get pictures, since I’ve somehow never managed to get a picture of them), because they grow everywhere this time of year. And they spring up right as or right before cool weather hits. It’s been the last couple of years that I learned this neat little judge of the change of seasons. It’s something I’ll miss when we leave one day, but I take time to enjoy it while I have it, which is a small miracle for me. I meant to write this last week when I first realized they had sprung up – because that is how it seems. One day the stretches of lawn and ditches are green (or brown, if we’ve had a dry spell like a couple of years ago) and then the next, they are filled to bursting with these small explosions of color on the end of long, slim stems.
Autumn isn’t the same in the south as it is for other parts of the country – this is something I learn growing up watching images of traditional American autumn, with the wild changes of leaves and quickly crisping weather. For us, when we were lucky, it finally meant a relief from the oppressive heat down to something much more manageable, if no less hot. Here, it cools off at night much earlier, but the days can still be warm. But it’s still different from what I’m used to seeing from my friends and others around the country. We won’t see color changes for at least another month, and the critters and bugs are still alive and well at night. As I type this, I’ve got the windows open and I can hear the crickets singing outside.
But I think the biggest clue to autumn for me will always be the scent of autumn. At least the scent of autumn in the south. Even before the flowers, even before the cooling, the scent of the air changed. It’s the scent of loamy soil, drying hay, and the subtle, sweet scent of plant matter beginning to decompose. It’s a rich scent that makes me think of Friday night football games, of the simplicity of high school, even though I never thought I’d get a handle on interpersonal skills. Hell, I’m not sure even today that I have a handle on those skills, I’m just more comfortable faking it these days. Autumn will always be nostalgia for me. And I still dream of one day having children of my own so that I can teach them to love all the things that makes fall so special.
Now, I’m just hoping we’re over this overnight silliness for the time being so that I have the chance to actually enjoy some of this amazing weather! I’m looking forward to getting our tire changed so that we can go ride in the crisp air. Of course, there are very few situations where I am uncomfortable riding. But I love to watch the changing of seasons, I love experiencing the new things that come from the change. And I’m looking forward to seeing these changes. Not because time is turning (though I’m also getting over the feeling that I’m losing time, too), but just for the simple joy of it.