We've been dealing with 100+ degree days here in North Texas. We had 17 in a row, then one day when it was only 99 degrees, then another run of 100+ Toward the latter part of that we've been running at 106 – 108. Just brutal. You step outside and you're instantly soaked with sweat, and don't even think about getting into a closed car without letting it air out a bit. And my motorcycle riding has been even more curtailed. When I did ride, the mornings were only uncomfortable. The afternoon ride home was a trial that left me feeling like a half-chewed piece of jerky.
And then came the change. A cold front came through, with the promise of highs in the lower 90s, and morning lows that actually seemed like morning. We even had an overcast day with occasional light sprinkles of rain and a high that didn't get out of the lower 80s.
That afternoon, as I rode through a wooded suburban neighborhood, the smell of fall rolled over me, the smell of cool air on damp leaves. I breathed it in deeply, smiling, and thanking God for the change.
Fall! I love it. It is by far my favorite season. Some in the northern lands may long for spring, may pine for the end of the snow and the first sight of a crocus. But after a long Texas summer of 100+ degree days, 85 degree nights, air conditioners struggling to keep up and all that, I long for fall. Just to have the temps stay below 90 for a few days is a wonderfully luxury, and that smell of damp leaves really brings it home.
Of course, the leaves are not even close to changing color yet. More likely some of the trees were experiencing heat stress. Still, that will come, and if we don't have spectacular New England autumns here, at least we do get to see some color change and smell that blessed fragrance.
I grew up in Wichita, Kansas. While that's not a town known for its vast forests, still we had lots of leaves falling in autumn, and as kids we piled them up and dove into them with abandon. And of course our autumn was much earlier there than it is here in Cowtown.
Fall has other pleasant memories for me. For most of my life it has been the season of hunting. We start with the doves, when it's really not fall yet, and progress on to waterfowl, quail, pheasant, and deer. Great times sitting around a fire talking about whatever, sitting still in the dawn as the world wakes up around me, watching squirrels chase one another, hearing coyotes yodeling in the near distance, seeing the clueless armadillos puttering along and digging for grubs. Wood ducks swooshing overhead with a sound like swooping jet planes, crows calling, dogs barking in the distance . . .
The sights, sounds, and smells of fall are my favorites. So come to us quickly, fall. We're waiting.