According to the calendar, fall starts in 13 days.
But if you ask my wife, it’s already begun — and our home reflects that reality.
Over the weekend, my wife pulled out the ceramic pumpkins, fall-scented candles and other autumnal accents and transitioned into her fall decor mode.
She started small, adorning the mantel, entertainment center and dining room table with all sorts of items in autumn colors. Of course, the summery wreath on the front door had to come down as well, to be replaced by one accented by fall colors.
My wife always likes decorating the house this time of year — not so much because of the approaching holidays but simply because fall is a cooler, more reflective season than the summer just past.
You can see the change coming no matter where you look. Clothing stores are replacing shorts with sweaters, restaurants are starting to offer spice cakes, pumpkin cheesecake and ciders, and grocery stores are laying in stocks of fall-themed baked goods and Halloween candy.
My wife and I have a longtime appreciation for fall, having both grown up in the Midwest. Up there, the leaves start turning by mid-September, and the morning air gets crisp. It’s also the time of year when the skies can turn a spectacular, deep blue on a bright, cool day.
I remember raking leaves in mid-October, piling up bright red and yellow offerings from our front-yard maple tree while listening to Illinois college football games on the radio. The smell of leaves on a crisp autumn day is something that still sticks with me and makes me smile.
My wife loves to recount the times she worked on her high school’s homecoming floats and took part in the homecoming festivities on chilly fall afternoons.
Years after we moved to Texas and subsequently met and married, my wife and I still have a real appreciation for the season.
We’ve had several great fall vacations together, including a memorable day spent hiking in colorful — and at one point, totally silent — Lost Maples State Park.
Needless to say, after we got engaged, a fall wedding seemed like the natural fit. So on an unseasonably warm day nine years ago, we tied the knot at a picturesque inn in Salado. The next day, we awoke to rain and chilly temperatures, but by the time we arrived at our honeymoon destination in the Hill Country, it had turned into one of those golden fall days we remembered from our youth.
My wife always likes to say that there’s something about the slant of the light in the fall that appeals to her, and she starts noticing the light change not long after the summer solstice.
Being a guy, it takes me much longer to catch on to these things, but I have to admit I can tell a difference in how the shadows fall by the middle of August. And it’s definitely getting dark a lot earlier than just a few weeks ago, so it won’t be long until it really feels like fall.
The other day, we had just gotten up for work when my wife summoned me onto the back patio. It was still a bit humid, but the breeze was out of the north, and it actually felt cool, especially for August. Fall was on its way.
That’s all it took to put a smile on her face.
So if you see her in the next two weeks shopping for fall decor items, checking out boxed spice cake mixes or stocking up on cider, just humor her — even if it is 90 degrees outside.
Fall is her favorite season, and as far as she’s concerned, it’s here.
And considering all the wonderful autumn memories we’ve had and shared, I’d have to second her on that notion.
It’s just a great time of year.
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at email@example.com or 254-501-7543.