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Don’t miss autumn to find Christmas

Fall requires talking about.

Never mind the flamboyant shades that slowly creep into our landscapes, each leaf turning its own private shade of ombre, or the hills that take on a smoky look that fill your lungs with freshness. Itís a feeling that overtakes you suddenly with the onset of hours slowly darkening our evenings one insolent minute at a time, and you realize that the heat of the day has evaporated into the cool of night and the insidious humidity has vanished. All thatís left are breathable moments of wonder, a reprieve from a heat that knocked you off your feet mere weeks earlier.

Born mid-October when the trees paraded their luscious wonder and the wind rustled eerily through the branches, it couldnít be helped that I would revel in every facet of these precious few months. Itís nestled between months of summer playtime and a winter that most donít want to face. Itís also overpowered by the incessant creep of all things Christmas, obliterating the landscape of orange and yellow, taken over by Octoberís end with glitter and cheer. Not one strand of tinsel will appear in my home until the food from Thanksgiving dinner is digested two days later.

By Sept. 1, sometimes even earlier, I see pumpkins begin to appear on porches along with the requisite hay bales and corn stalks. Itís as if some wire is switched in peopleís heads, and they are on automatic overdrive. As I type, itís Sept. 20, and though the evenings are cooler and Iím on the autumn train, my porch is still lush with summerís begonias and greenery. I take my coffee and sit on my patio chairs, soaking up the remainder of summer while fall edges itself into my conscience.

The blending of seasons is part of the season, the handing over of the torch and the almost lazy way I welcome fall. Iíve placed several faux pumpkins around my house, one stuffed with a terrifying face that was most certainly not painted correctly. I found him at a thrift store and knew he needed to sit on my kitchen island, smiling his over-painted smile. Fall-scented candles have been arranged strategically, so with the flick of my wrist and quick light of a match I can smell vanilla and apples. I am slow to move each season, choosing to blend like a chameleon into it instead of jump blindly.

Gradually I will pitch annuals and replace them with a mum here or there but never a hay bale or corn stalk. I leave those for the fields. Iíll want to walk through later to scare myself silly. At the beginning of October Iíll start looking at pumpkins and possibly bring a few home to place on my steps, but not too early because theyíll be carved with jack-oí-lantern faces come the last week of the month. When I begin to feel the magic course through me, Iíll get out my Mexican calaveras and place them in and around an intentional vignette, made with a nod to my husbandís heritage.

By the end of the season my home will have the flavor of fall spread throughout. You might find a dummy on the porch, stuffed with newspaper in his legs, chilling for passersby to see and be startled by. I embrace chilling rides down pitch black roads in our countryside, dipping down into velvet hollows and hilltops with legends and stories that bring a tingle to the fine hairs on your neck. I have never turned away from a thrilling tale, and my kids and their friends could tell you many spine-tingling stories that my husband has told them over the years.

The spirit of the season mustnít be squashed in a hurried rush to the holidays. Tripping over tightly held days to get to the next thing always leaves you gasping for air, never fulfilled.

Today I will take my coffee cup before I delve into the day, and I will let the crisp morning air wash over me. Iíll take inventory of my porch, pluck a dead geranium off its stalk and think about what will replace it when itís time. Fall has arrived as I slowly gather it in.

Published: September 23, 2016
New Article ID: 2016709239981