Thursday, October 23, 2014

Apparently, Fall Exists Everywhere


I'm from New England.  I spent my entire life - all of twenty seven years - in New England, and you know how many times I actively took the time to look at foliage?  Never!  Sure, I caught glimpses of it on the way to a mall while driving on Route 1 or to visit my aunt in New Hampshire, but honestly, I never gave a shit.  It was just there.  It was just a part of the scenery of my LIFE.  

I never went apple picking, at least not past the age of ten.  I never carved a pumpkin.  I never roasted pumpkin seeds.  I never got a pumpkin spice latte.  I never celebrated fall for all its fall-ness, I merely treated it like the more mellow yet dramatic cousin of spring.

But now I live in Southern California, where fall quietly stumbles into the party late and nobody notices.  One day I woke up and it was a bit darker and a bit chillier.  One day I didn't need to blast the AC on my way to work and I could sleep with only the windows open.  One day, I didn't sweat through my leather jacket.  One day, the fireplace scented candle I've been lighting since March suddenly fit in.  

Back home, it's impossible to "miss" fall's entrance.  It smacks you in the face in the morning, calmly caresses your check with the warmth of its sun in the afternoon and then throws you against the wall as soon as the sun goes down.  You could start the day in a sweatshirt, change into a bathing suit and then desperately need to climb inside of a fire by the day's end.  That's right.  Inside of a fire.

It's just that different.

But still, I kick myself for not paying more attention to fall back home.  People say, "Oh man, you must miss New England during this time of year!"  Sure, I do.  But it has nothing to do with nature and more to do with the fact that my parents used to live fifteen minutes away from me and my mom is constantly baking and putting pumpkin in something.  That's why I miss New England!  

But what makes a fall? There's the obvious things: pumpkin patches, apple picking, warm cider, chilly weather, sweaters, awkward starts to a school year etc.  But I've been to a pumpkin patch in California and it was a little hot, but it was still something I was able to experience out here.  I've spiked some apple cider with spiced rum.  I've worn a sweater a few times.  I've driven down a street that was covered in colorful leaves.  I even wore a buffalo plaid shirt to work today!  Buffalo plaid!  It doesn't get more fall than buffalo plaid!  

So, to all those worried about my lack of New England scenery this fall - please fret not.  You can all calm down NOW!  The truth is, fall still exists.  I'm feeling the coziness.  I'm feeling the Halloween vibe.  I'm digging the tiny traces of holidays approaching.  I'm wearing layers (that of course prevent me from going anywhere in the afternoon where the sun is still blazing hot.)  I'm itching to dye my hair dark brown.  I'm nesting.  (I spent an entire weekend day covering a wall in gold washi tape.) 

Honestly, I kinda love the way California does fall.  It creeps up on ya, but it's pretty damn special.  Even if it means I have to bake my own pumpkin baked goods (my mother called me about a great recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles that are apparently all the rage in Oregon).  But otherwise, I don't feel like I'm missing out so much.  

Now, excuse me while I whip up a pumpkin bisque after taking an evening swim in my pool. Because it's California.  And I can. 

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