I finished the first draft of my book yesterday, and that happened to coincide with the arrival of a cold front, and now we have actual fall-like weather for the first day of fall, so it’s a nice day to give myself a break to enjoy it.
It’s the kind of day I joke is All Autumn in a Day in this part of the world, the first day it really feels like fall, and it’s such a relief after a long, hot summer that we tend to go all-out, doing All the Fall Things because it may be the only real fall day we get. You never know. It’s going to start warming up again later in the week and be back to “summer,” and there’s a chance it could stay that way until we get a drastic cold snap and it’s suddenly winter (that actually happened a couple of years ago, when summer lingered into October, and then we got a freeze right before Halloween). It reminds me of the Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day,” in which a girl who moved from earth to a colony on Venus misses the one afternoon in seven years when the sun comes out because her classmates, who had never seen the sun and didn’t realize what they were missing, locked her in a closet. Except here we do get it every year, but my favorite season still tends to be capricious and brief.
I’ve already had breakfast on the patio, actually wearing a sweatshirt! I have some baking planned for the afternoon, and I’m going to make soup for dinner. I’ll probably have some patio time, sipping cinnamon herbal tea, this evening. There will be a long walk to the library after I get this posted. I don’t drink coffee, so no pumpkin spice lattes for me, but otherwise I’m trying to cram in as much fall as possible, even though the trees are still green and it will be 90 degrees this weekend.
Really, in more temperate climates, our weather today wouldn’t even be considered fall. This is the way their summer is. I’ve been pondering whether I want to stay around here, for a number of reasons, and I’ve been monitoring the weather in some of the places I’ve imagined might be a good fit. This is the kind of weather they started having in August. I remember when we moved to Germany in August and had to go buy sweatshirts because the clothes we’d brought with us from summer in Oklahoma and then traveling to Louisiana and across the south to Charleston were way too light for the weather. There was a discussion on a friend’s Facebook page a few weeks ago when she mentioned looking forward to fall, and one of her friends talked about preferring summer, then listed their idea of summer activities — hiking, camping, going on picnics. Those of us who live in Texas said we liked those things, too, but they were fall activities. That’s why we were looking forward to fall. I think we shift our summer to fall. In a way, our summer is like winter elsewhere, a time we spend as little time as possible outdoors, so we react to fall the way northerners react to spring.
I’ve joked about finding a place where it’s fall most of the time, and that makes me wonder if that’s how a place like that would work for me. Would having weather I associate with early fall, followed by actual fall weather, feel like an extended autumn for me, or would I get used to it and think of it as summer, so it would stop feeling like fall?
Not that I’m planning to move anytime soon. I’d want to travel to a place before making any decisions, and that’s not happening during the pandemic, and I don’t have the money right now to pick up and move across the country. I’ll also need to keep monitoring the weather in other places during the winter. Temperatures in the 80s in August sound heavenly, but what will I think of the winter? I always spend the summer dreaming about being elsewhere, then forget about it in October.
In the meantime, I will enjoy my first day of fall, and then tomorrow get back to work, reading through this book to see if it makes sense. When I get this book totally done and ready to publish, I’m going to dial back for the rest of the year. I’ve got a project I want to develop, and that means a more flexible work schedule that can be done in a variety of locations, so when (if!) we get real fall, I’ll be able to take my work with me as I take walks, so I can sit in the woods or by a lake to work.