Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Fall

I hate fall. Truly I do. From the shortening days to the falling leaves, the sad farewell of the katydid to the honk of a southbound goose, the first frost to the first snowflake, it's worse than the end of the year. It's the good-bye to summer and all of its potential.

Yet, walking the dogs this morning and enjoying the fresh air and the clouds scuttling across the sky, I realized that my dislike of fall is really unfair. Not that fall cares either way.

I used to love fall as a time of beginning. It was the start of a new school year. I would be meeting new people, learning new things, and had a new back-to-school wardrobe to boot. There would be football games and what passed for a social life. Fall was a time of moving forward after the lazy days of summer.

And I don't dislike fall for itself so much as I do for what follows it. Because compared to how I feel about winter, my feelings for fall are mild dislike. But hating fall because winter follows it would be like hating pizza or Krispy Kreme donuts because a higher number on the scale follows consumption. And that's simply not going to happen.

So I decided to rethink my approach to fall and try to come up with reasons to love the season.

1. Cool mornings. I love walking the dogs when it's a nice temperature, when layers, and fingerless gloves and a brisk pace are enough to stay warm and, simultaneously, not melt. In the summer, I have to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn and start walking dogs before the sun creeps over the poplars behind the house or we all simply die. Fall, well, I can enjoy a cup or two of coffee before hitting the road.

2. Sweats. I adore sweats of all kinds. There's nothing like a hoodie to make me feel cozy. I have a shelf full in my closet and I wear them nearly year round. But in summer, they're an early morning, cool day kind of thing, with a pair of shorts. In fall I can wear them all day and add sweat pants as well.

3. Crocheting. I like to do needlework, but when the AC is working overtime to keep the house a comfortable temperature the last thing I want is a pile of yarn in my lap. When fall rolls around I can resume whatever project I put aside last spring. (I also like knitting, but the needles are too sharp and the stitches too easily dropped with little people in the house, so that won't count this year.)

4. Sleeping in a chilly bedroom. I love to snuggle under blankets in a cool room for sleeping. This fall, thanks to not turning on the heat pump before absolutely necessary, I've discovered that 63 on the central thermostat is my optimum sleeping temperature. Not gonna get that in summer when I'm on top of the sheets and still miserable.

5. Walks in the woods. Once warm weather arrives, the threat of poison oak and snakes keeps me pretty much on the beaten path all summer. When the temperature drops I grab an orange sweatshirt (I know the deer hunters are out there) and take to the woods again. My dogs and I can ramble by the river, climb the rock cliffs, lose ourselves in rhododendron hells. It's all good and we don't even have to carry water. Even the girls and I may venture out once again on a shorter hike.

6. Chicken stews. Although chicken stews was something I hadn't heard of until I moved one county south into North Carolina, they are the social highlight of the season and I adore them. Someone agrees to put on a pot of stew and the rest of us bring drinks and side dishes or desserts. We sit by the fire eating too much, enjoying the warmth on our backs and the heat on our fronts (or vice versus), and visiting. A cracking fire, a pot of stew and a glass of blackberry wine are hard to beat.

7. Bonfires, or around my house much needed brush fires. Even a well controlled blaze is no fun in summer, although I've torched a pile now and then on a less than ideal day. But come a cool fall day, that pile of storm downed limbs can turn into a fun activity and all those scraggly saplings we've been cutting, well, they just add to the fun.

8. Chainsaws. Ok, brush fires put me in mind of that. I love to cut limbs and crap with the chainsaw I got a few years ago for my birthday from the hubby who really knows me. I love the smell of the chainsaw exhaust and the feeling of accomplishment when the work is done. But it's only good when the weather is cool and I only fire it up as a necessity during the summer.

9. Football. Ever since those long ago high school days, I've loved football. I may not go to the games at the high school stadium any more, but the NFL and college games are a great way to pass an afternoon when I really need to relax. Football is the only sport I keep up with and really enjoy and I'm glad when the season returns and sad when it ends.

10. Leaves. I never paid a lot of mind to leaves growing up on a ridge in Virginia. Our leaves wound up somewhere down here in Carolina anyway, pushed by a cold northern breeze. But I remember Ma Mary down the road piling hers into the ditch and burning them. And my husband tends to want to pile them up here. Which is great for little girls who last fall discovered that leaves could be a lot of fun. And destroying Papi's hard work or burying Ma only adds to the excitement. Plus, once those last few leaves are put to bed, yard work is pretty much over for the year. And while I like yard mowing, I'm ready for the rest.

So there, I've come up with a list of reasons to enjoy one of my less than favorite seasons. If you're like me and a summer lover, then perhaps you can come up with your own. If not, feel free to borrow mine. Just get out and love the days we're given.

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