Autumn, the season of pumpkins, turkeys and Halloween candy galore, has always been my favorite time of the year. This is probably because some of my best memories are tied into this season — raking leaves with my family as a kid, visiting apple orchards and decorating the house for Halloween.
Unfortunately, it’s like the great state of Texas is ignoring the season. It’s nearly the end of September, but it still feels like we are in the worst dog days of summer (“Summer part-two,” someone called it on social media).
This winter, I will bask in delight as I tell my family back home about the awesome weather we are enjoying while they slog through ice and the grey mush of last week’s snow storm. But for now, I’m positively miserable.
It’s always the same sad story — at the start of each new week, I eagerly assess the weather forecast on my phone, only to be disappointed yet again. The days are supposed to be getting cooler, but the exact opposite is happening — it’s only getting hotter. How am I to enjoy a hot cup of spiced anything, wear my sweaters and crunch leaves when it’s 97 degrees outside? This is not fall.
As any military spouse can understand, living in different locations can be an eye-opening experience. Sometimes, it’s a good thing — like being able to appreciate different cultures and meeting new friends. But sometimes it can leave you feeling a bit wistful, too. That sacred period of time you always took for granted no longer seems to exist.
I’m no rookie to the letdown. After all, this is my second Texas fall. Before that, I endured three autumns in Louisiana. Neither one is exactly a hotbed of pumpkin patches and apple orchards, but I figured I could handle it. And I like Texas, truly, I do — the big, open skies, the pretty cacti, the cute little lizards that hang out in our backyard. Like every state, it has it’s own special aspects. But sadly, I just wasn’t prepared for how much my love of the season would overcome me during these past five years.
Maybe you’re a longtime Texas resident who is reading this and thinking, “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is, without trying to sound pretentious, all of the amazing experiences you’ve been missing out on — things like crisp, cool air that brings with it a feeling of nostalgia and just the faintest whisper of cozy nights to come bundled up on the couch before a fire. Or, the incredible smell of ripe apples from your local farm stand that doesn’t even compare to fruit found in a grocery store. It’s leaves crunching under your feet as you observe breathtaking colors all around you, or smell cinnamon on your way into a store and think, “Yep, it’s really fall,” because it actually feels like fall.
For anyone who has never experienced such things, words can do little justice in describing this decadent season and I would really encourage you to find out for yourself one day.
As for me, I’ve been coping the best I can — jacking up the AC in my house as I drink my hot pumpkin-spice coffee, pretending that the leaf that just crunched under my foot is there because it’s fall and not because it died of heat stroke, and changing the wallpaper on my computer to a photo of an autumn wonderland — generally, living in a fantasy world in my head. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, right? After all, it’s almost Halloween.