Well, good morning, Autumn. I see Mother Nature has released you from your cage and allowed you to bless us with your presence. Has she finally forgiven us for whatever transgressions we unknowingly committed against her? Or has someone at last taken my advise and supplied her with an endless stream of chocolate?
I bet it was the chocolate. That always fixes what ails me. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, the reason for her reversal of favor doesn’t matter much, just that you have finally arrived.
And so here we find ourselves in mid-October, in the Lone Star State, with our first noticeable cold front of the season, sweeping down from the Rockies. The air is cool, crisp and refreshing – the endless brutality of the scorching summer just a distant bad memory. Everywhere you look, fall festivities are in full swing – haunted houses, pumpkin patches, the State Fair. It is truly the best time of the year.
Now, I must admit that I’m not real big on the fair. I understand the draw for people who like that sort of thing, but I don’t find it overly enjoyable. It’s crowded, expensive and well – did I mention expensive? The pumpkin patch, on the other hand, is something that I thoroughly enjoy. The price is right, there’s always fresh kettle corn and who doesn’t dig a good old fashion hay ride? The homey, festive feel of these little tracts of land covered in endless rows of pumpkins, hay bales and corn husks never fail to fill me with the spirit of the season.
The year is filled with lots of holidays – Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year. I don’t get excited about any of them. My least favorite – Christmas. I’ve been told that I am a bit of a Scrooge McDuck. I’ll own it. I would rather spend Christmas on a remote tropical island sipping fruity, frozen cocktails and watching dolphins frolic in the surf.
Don’t you judge me.
I’m not the first person to think Christmas is a royal pain in the ass. There I said it. Christmas is painful – from the blood baths at the mall, to the marathon baking, to the cluttered tree trimming, to the infuriating debate over the origins of the holiday. By New Year’s Day, the overwhelming pressure of it all turns me into a twitchy basket case, in desperate need of a very big glass of tequila.
In spite of my holiday loathing, I love Halloween.
In stark contrast, Halloween is carefree and simple. It’s all about fantasy and fun. Caramel apples and pumpkin spiced lattes. Jack-o-lanterns and spooky stories of headless horsemen. Costumes and pillowcases full of sweet treats. The best part – no one demands a damn thing from me.
What’s not to love about that?
Unfortunately, fall will give way to winter. All too soon I will be consumed with hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, elbow deep in cookie dough and gift wrap. I will curse the traffic, the shoppers, and anyone else who gets in my way and dream of a beach far, far away. One with fruity, frozen drinks and frolicking dolphins.
For now, though, in the calm before the storm, I am going sit here in my favorite sweatshirt, sipping a warm pumpkin spice latte, and just relish in the feel of fall.