Bring out the pumpkins, it’s almost fall

Published 1:32 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

There is a little hint of autumn in the air the last few days. Of course, the calendar tells me it is still summer, but a light breeze from the east whispers that the season is nearing an end.

The weatherman also tells me that the slightly cooler, less humid air is because over the weekend this part of the country sat between two storm systems, one pounding Texas, the other to the east sliding toward the Atlantic. Both, I suppose, siphoned moisture from our air to feed themselves.

Whatever the cause, I like this reminder that fall is coming. I’m ready for a rest from the heat, ready for the leaves to turn and the sky to paint itself October blue, signs that signal Mother Nature is preparing for her own season of rest.

It’s almost time for boiled peanuts, cheering football fans, rolls of cotton sitting in open fields, the human signals that the seasons are changing. For hunters it’s the anticipation and preparation for days ahead when the call of the woods is so strong they must answer.

For me, it is the experience of embracing the changing world, delighting in all that fall offers. Is there anything finer than the sound of leaves crunching under your feet on a cool fall morning? And what compares with pressing together two just-fallen-off-the-tree pecans, hearing the sound of them cracking and then tasting the sweet crunchy meat hiding inside the shells?

When I was a kid, fall was pure joy. It was Saturdays sliding down leaf-covered hills on pieces of a cardboard box. It was sweeping leaves into a pile only to scatter them again as I dove into the middle of it, wiggling my way to the bottom until I disappeared under the leaf mountain.

My own children spent hours sweeping leaves into patterns, creating rooms in a great leaf house. They arranged and rearranged their creations, imagining them into cabins and castles and forts.

In the days when people swept their yards and then burned the leaves, the smell of those burning piles filled the air in my neighborhood. A day of yard sweeping was a family event that often ended with roasting marshmallows as night fell and the flames became embers. Sometimes Daddy even played his harmonica and we sang along to “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

I know I’m getting ahead of myself here. There is still another day left in August and the forecast says the heat and humidity are coming back.

Still this morning when I stepped outside, there was that hint of coolness that is whispering, “I’m coming soon.” The plants hear it too as they take on that drooping look that says I’m ready to sleep for a while.

No, it’s not here yet, but Friday is the first day of September, and for me, that is permission to say it is fall. Sure, the official start doesn’t come for several weeks, but I’m not going by official dates. Nope, I’m choosing to declare autumn by the look of the trees and the feel in my heart.

So come Friday, I will pull out my wreath, the one covered with bright orange and yellow and red leaves, and hang it on the door. The glass pumpkins and pinecones are going to sit on the buffet.

I’ll change the kitchen towels and potholders from ones with summer flowers to the ones sporting acorns and the words, “Happy Harvest.” The candles scented with cinnamon and spiced apple will come out and fill my house with the fragrance of a new season.

Yes, today there is a hint of fall in the air. Not to rush the passing of time, but I’m ready for summer to exit. And, after the hot damp one we’ve had this year, I’m betting I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Who knows there just might be a dive into a leaf mountain in my not too distant future. Anyone dare to join me?



Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.