As I settle into this new season, I ask myself what comes to mind when I think of Fall. My favorite word for this time of year is Autumn, which instantly makes me think of my mother’s hair in the light. I begin to see my most beloved apples in the grocery store, Honeycrisp, and then I know soon I will be drinking warm apple cider in the evening while reading a novel. The air will soften relieving itself of the heavy humidity and every window in my house will be open to welcome it. It will be cool in the morning, so I will lay my cherished quilt my mother-in-law gave me on my bed to keep me warm. Then of course I think of the foliage that will give color to our now earlier dark evenings.
Those who have not grown up in Northwest Florida tend to complain that our Fall is nothing compared to where they come from. I’m not here to dispute that the colors are brighter and the changes are more dramatic, but that we do in fact have a fall season on the gulf coast.
I have a friend who has also lived here all her life and around the same time we both feel the seasons begin to change. The light comes in at an angle creating golden beams through the trees. The winds become stronger and the sound of the leaves becomes louder as they dry before letting go. When it rains and the wind is really blowing the colorful leaves flutter about. It feels magical as I watch through my window. When I water my garden the leaves from my neighbor’s Sweet Gum tree crunch under my feet. I become consumed with garden planning because now will be the time I can really get out there and work without fear of heat stroke or mosquito bites. Luckily because of the time change I am forced to come inside or I would be out there forever!
For us in Florida the changes into our fall season are more subtle than elsewhere. You must be aware to notice these changes. It can be a good thing to learn the ability to tune into the world around you. So many people want instant gratification. They want the big showy plant to place on their porch for everyone to see instead of beginning with a seed and appreciating each precious stage until it gives you a flower. I like to think of our Fall as a great reminder that change takes time. It does not happen instantaneously. For anyone who has had the desire to change and did knows that it came about in a gradual way. Each day there was a slight adjustment within that person to create an overall difference in who they are.
Before we know it all the leaves will have fallen and the trees will be bare. Everything will look and feel a lot different than it did in the summer. Right now to some the changes seem non-existent, but to those who look closer they can sense that Autumn is in the air.