Fall is my favorite season -- without reservation or qualification.
Fall is awesome. Cool, brisk mornings. Afternoons just warm enough to remain comfortable in your favorite sweater. Leaves crunching. Hot cider and chai tea. The smell of wood-burning fireplaces wafting through the air.
Alas, I'm beginning to doubt that it will ever truly be "fall" here in Tempe, and that, more than anything else right now, is making me miss southeastern Idaho.
Even as I sit here now, not even 10 AM, the mercury is steadily rising toward an anticipated high of 95 degrees. The depressing thing about this, however, is that 95 degrees feels delightfully comfortable to me now. But 95 degrees is hardly "fall" weather. The leaves here don't appear to be changing, but then again, I'm fairly certain that palm trees aren't deciduous. The stores are filling up with all the usual autumn trappings -- Halloween decor and costumes, pumpkins, squash, cider, etc. Yet somehow instead of filling me with delight (as per usual), it feels hollow -- like some sort of sham verison of fall I'm expected to buy.
Fall is my favorite "fellowship" season, too. Being new to Tempe, I'm making some friends, but the process is slow and deliberate. The Pocatello Smiths hosted the annual Hobbit Day last weekend, to great success, and while Joe and I were able to partake via webcam, the feeling of being in the same room with all the friends that we miss so much was palpably lacking. My ennui was heightened by the fact that I was, on that same Saturday, missing my first Spud Day in a very long time. Tempe doesn't celebrate potatoes. I haven't yet figured out what root vegetable Tempe holds in such high esteem, but rest assured, once I hear of it, I will be at that root vegetable's eponymous festival with bells on.
I'm currently looking forward to Thanksgiving more than I have in quite some time. While Joe's work schedule precludes us from traveling this year, my sister-cousin Ani-Banana will be flying to Tempe for some long-overdue family holiday fun. (We spent many Thanksgivings together as children, but recently discovered (to our horror) that we hadn't seen each other on Turkey Day in about thirteen years!) I'm looking forward to assuaging homesickness with a heavy dose of nostalgia. Oh, the things we have planned! We're going to dig deep into our combined memories and resurrect all those long-forgotten Nelson/Henrikson-girl traditions that we faithfully carried out for so many years. We will watch Gone with the Wind and The Muppet Christmas Carol. We'll drink cider, eat turkey, and twirl to the sounds of The Nutcracker until we're too dizzy to stand. We'll decorate a Christmas tree, turn off all the lights, and "oooh" and "aaah" to our hearts' content. Perhaps we'll even construct a lopsided, but still somehow breathtakingly beautiful star of faux-pine garland and twinkle lights for the wall. (It's marvelous to watch a lopsided star whiz through your field of vision as you twirl and twirl to a little Tchaikovsky.) Most importantly, though, we'll both reconnect with an "Idaho" we lost long ago, when Grandma died and our family scattered -- something for which we've both been homesick.
And don't forget the cordial cherries.