J. Sam Williams
Autumn is my favorite time of year.
Big deal, it's a lot of people's favorite season.
I live in California, in the Sacramento area, where fall is suffocation. The month of September, a month all about apples and pencils, was around 90 degrees all month. Do the leaves change? No. No they don't. What about all the Trader Joe's Pumpkin food? Is that there???
Of course, it's Trader Joe's.
Here's the thing. I'm from New England. I spent 13 years there growing up in New Hampshire where the real maple syrup is, the leaves actually turn red and orange, not just yellow, and where apple cider is everywhere. I've lived in the mid-Atlantic, the mid-west, and now the west.
Everywhere else in the United States sucks at fall.
Am I an autumn-snob? Maybe, I prefer to think that everyone else just hasn't experienced what an actual fall is supposed to be.
When I was going to college in the mid-west, I remember some of my fellow classmates--those from California, or Florida, any place where they'd never seen fall before--complimented the fall. Oh the air is so crisp! The leaves actually do turn colors! This pumpkin-spiced latte is so good.
Shut the Front Door.
Sure the air got colder, but there wasn't a real crisp to it. My fellow students didn't know the feeling when you breath, and you instantly become aware of how much air isin your lungs. They don't know the pain of that freezing feeling filling your lungs with each breath as you walk around with hand warmers, hiking Mt. Washington in the midst of an everlasting color pallet of leaves and trees. They couldn't possibly realize just how amazing it is to hold a warm beverage, letting the steam warm your nose.
It's strange now, living on the West Coast. People here don't realize the wicked big deal Autumn is in New England. They don't understand what "leafers" are, or the fact that between the end of September and the middle of October all hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and even your great-aunt's shed will be booked as the northern states of New England are invaded with wealthy white people, some with families, some with romance on the mind, and some just having a sexcation.
They cannot fathom how "fall activities" are a must. You're not a local if don't go out for a drive to see the leaves. You're not a true New Englander if don't go to an actual pumpkin patch (not just the grocery store) and pick a pumpkin from the ground, tearing it out of the bit of roots it call home. It's not just a cute part of life, fall, IT IS LIFE.
People here on the West "play" fall. They don't experience it. And ever since I moved to Cali, I lose my mind this time of year. Sure, you can go on hayrides, walk through a maize maze, pick apples, see a yellow leaf, and get hot apple cider donuts (I just did a bunch of that this weekend), but for goodness sake, the magic of autumn doesn't exist here.