Monday, November 18, 2013

“Slipping into Fall”


            This time last week, a “cold” front forced me to rummage through the old oak toy box that sits at the foot of our bed, trying to locate a pair of sweatpants. I relished the idea of swapping out my fall and winter clothes, folded neatly in the chest, with my spring and summer clothing hanging in my closet.
            Usually, this annual exchange signals my belief in the arrival of fall to central Texas. Anyone familiar with the weather in our area knows that summer starts in April and lingers through October. We have two “springs”—the one that thaws everything in February and teases our flowers to bloom in March, and the one that comes right before autumn’s birth. The second spring rejuvenates our yards and gardens with another round of blossoms triggered by the return of rain into the area once the hundred degree temperatures creep back to the lower 90s.
            After that round of rain and bloom, a front ushers in fall with a blast from the north that lowers temperatures at night into the 40s, or maybe even dipping into the first frost of the season. I celebrate this shift in weather by throwing open all of the windows. Our twenty-year-old air conditioner sighs in relief!
            I take my morning juice or cup of tea outside and sit at the bistro table. Overhead, the sky aches in pure blue. The breeze, slight and cool, carries children’s laughter. To honor the shift in weather, I’ve donned a soft robe and slippers for my feet. Up north, weather changes dramatically. I remember definite demarcations signaling each new season. In central Texas, our endlessly long summers invade into the other seasons, whittling them down to only a few precious weeks. And so I like to savor the cooler days and nights, pay tribute to them with my ceremonial clothing switch-out and log fires in the backyard pit.
Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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