It’s a beautiful September day in southeastern Arizona. In these parts they refer to fall as a second spring. But honestly, autumn here is like a perfect summer day anywhere else. It’s 80 degrees. The sky is Crayola baby blue, spotted with floating clumps of cotton balls. It often looks like a child’s delightful art project up there.
I seized the weather with a walk. Two miles of pushing a happy toddler in a comfy stroller through paths lined in blooming greens. The monsoon rains give us a three month reprieve from desert-living. We won’t feel a real chill until Christmas. And even then, it’s not exactly the Artic north around here. When the temp drops below 70 we all run, en masse, for our sweaters.
But autumn has always been my favorite season. Once upon a time, in another life, I associated it with Technicolor burgundy and blood orange. Leaves crackling beneath my cute knee-high boots, deep inhalations of crispy-clean earth, hot-n-sweet beverages, hearty broths, resurrected fireplaces, soft, color-splashing scarves, Happy Halloweens, moody grey heavens above and rain – Seattle rain. And when I moved to Arizona, all those many moons ago, how I mourned the loss of it.
Other than the occasional harvest wreath, hanging on someone’s front door, or the jack-o-lanterns that can only sit out the day of October 31st before melting into mush, there’s very little, traditional sign of the season. Trees retain most their leaves until December; then those leaves make some sort of suicide pact and all plummet at once to their leafy death. Green one day, gone the next – and it’s straight from “second spring” to winter we go. This took some getting used to.
But I’ve come to love a new brand of fall. Blue skies and sunshine in fitted tees and capris. Outdoor activities, warm breezes, lizards, toads and their babies. Thanksgiving dinner on the patio and pumpkin spice lattes -ICED! Because it appears autumn, like so much else, is just a state of mind.