It must be

By Mir
October 3, 2007

It must be Fall because it’s dark when my alarm goes off and dark when I wake the kids up and dark while I pack lunches but almost sorta kinda getting light out when it’s time to leave for school.

It must be Fall because the yard is covered with fallen leaves. The fact that the trees are still covered in (green) leaves is a little confusing, sure, and I hear that a drought can make the leaves fall off, too, plus the fact that it is still hitting 85 every day is not feeling all that Fall-like, but—what was I talking about?—oh, right, the leaves on the grass mean it must be Fall.

It must be Fall because we crack the windows at night and let the cool air snake over the windowsills and down the wall, where it creeps along until it find my toes (which I am always surprised to discover are growing chilly).

It must be Fall because I haven’t used my GPS unit in I don’t know how long. Over three months, one-quarter of a year, it took for me to be able to hop in the car and get where I’m going by instinct or on “it’s over near”-type directions. I no longer panic at highway off-ramps, realizing that I have but moments to decide which way to turn.

It must be Fall because I wake up cocooned in the covers and pushing them back sends me running for my bathrobe.

It must be Fall because when I drive across campus, the students are all still wearing flip-flops, but they’re wearing them with jeans and the occasional sweater.

It must be Fall because the kids want to talk about Halloween, and I am faced with the double-whammy of how to keep candy in the house without eating it all, AND coming up with costumes. Last year it was unseasonably warm on Halloween and both kids were too hot in their get-ups. I should probably assume a temperature like that would be the norm, here. If not warmer. Do all the little Georgia kids go as ballerinas and surfers?

It must be Fall because four people in just the last week have mistaken Monkey for a girl, and the last time he let me cut more than a millimeter off his hair was right before the wedding. (He, by the way, is unperturbed. He wants to know about how long I think it’ll be before he can wear it in a ponytail.)

It must be Fall because I have a mammogram later this week and I’m starting to feel vaguely guilty about things like finding a dentist and an optometrist. Of course, Fall has traditionally been our time to get all of that stuff out of the way so as not to necessitate extra driving in the Winter, which is no longer really a concern, but it still feels like it’s time to do these things.

It must be Fall because the apples taste better and the squash is beckoning to me with promises of creamy soups.

It must be Fall because suddenly the kids are writing letters to their friends back up north; they’ve gotten their routines into place and can now put pen to paper and say “Hi! How are you? I have a new friend who looks just like you (but you are still my friend too) except she has longer hair” or “Are you doing soccer this year? I am and my team is awesome.”

It must be Fall because the air is starting to smell like home.


  1. Megan

    Lovely. And I do hope the unsettling settling in process is getting better and better. No one (I feel) can truly move and feel at home in the summer. It takes snuggly things and warm and toasty things and the ability to cuddle without pushing the other person away after two minutes and gasping for cooler air!

    Of course, if they call this fall I’m intrigued to know what constitutes “winter…”

  2. Kimberly

    Sounds like Fall alright. I love Fall. I think you’ll love this Fall too.

    (Every day this week as we walk Diva Girl to the bus stop, the Zen Baby looks at the leaves on the ground and exclaims, “It’s STILL Fall???”)

  3. Flea

    This will be our first fall as a family (lived in FL way too long). The costumes in the South are made of light weight material, so as not to smother the children. Nothing like a kid passing out from heat stroke on a neighbor’s lawn. Try a Michael’s or JoAnn’s.

    Squash soup sounds good …

  4. saucygrrl

    The smell of Autumn goes a long way to make a new house feel more like home. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve noticed that the fallen leaves on Cape Cod still seem to be green too…

  5. Jenny

    [shaking fist heavenward with fierce scowl] Whither the cool air?? WHITHER???

    In a fit of fall-onset insanity, I bought a giant butternut squash at Publix last weekend. It’s sitting on my kitchen counter now and we just stare at one another blankly because it WANTS to be a soup, and I WANT to help it achieve this worthy goal, but it’s hard to get in the mood when I’m out on the porch drinking lemonade booze tea still.

    Sigh. Fall is my favorite, and it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to get here.

  6. Leandra

    I wouldn’t assume anything about the weather on Halloween. That’s the crazy thing about the weather down here — one day it’s burning up and the next it’s freezing. It makes it so hard to plan!!

  7. Heather S.

    Seems like life and it’s routines have taken hold and “down south” feels like home to you, that is so COOL!!!

  8. SportsMum

    Four years ago this week we moved from California to Fall! After five years of sunshine and warm temps almost EVERY SINGLE DAY, I coveted fall – the crisp days and the fresh smell. I have to admit, I started taking it for granted after the second year but your post just brought all those comforting feelings rushing back.
    Of course, in our three sons home, fall is also football…everyday…every hour…every minute. That’s good too…

  9. SarraJK

    Last year I got Little Boy a pirate costume made of lightweight material from Party City and had to put sweatpants on underneath (which made the costume really tight). This year I’m planning for something a little warmer.

    It always seems to me that Halloween is when it finally cools off.

  10. prophet

    what a lovely ‘grounding’ post today. Thank you! Glad for you, too, that you’re settling in. Amazing how that works, eh? Anyway, I enjoyed your word picture-gifts today. ‘cool air snaking’. . . . and the flip-flopped jean & sweaters come first to mind – that, and the panic at the off-ramp. . . .

  11. el-e-e

    You’re so right, Fall is very homey. Want to know something neat? Next summer, when you open the pool again and …well, I won’t mention the return of humidity… but that time of year will feel all familiar, and thus, maybe sorta home-like too, because it’s where you started here. :)

    Lovely post, as always.

  12. Nancy R


  13. All Adither

    I’m envious of a down-south fall. Here we know it’s fall when the clouds descend to the ground and the rains start and never stop and our pruney fingers fumble for hot paper cups of coffee and tea.

  14. Stephanie Chance

    We get to choose between superheroes for Halloween this year. Earlier I got a good price on the wonder woman costume from Lillian Vernon. And I just caught a sale at Disney and got matching outfits, she as Violet (her middle name is Violet!) and I as Mrs. Incredible. But, of course, she wants to just tie a towel around her neck, crawl on all fours, and go as Superdog. Ruff, ruff, and away!

  15. BOSSY

    Yeah, the whole Dark In Morning thing: it t’aint right!

  16. MomCat

    It’s a Love Wednesday post! That was great to read. : )

  17. Aimee

    You *so* hit the weirdness of Fall in a warm climate on the head. We have trees here in San Diego that have some leaves that change color, some that don’t, and while half the leaves are green and half are orange, the tree itself flowers.

  18. Randi

    awww – so sweet!

  19. dad

    It’s good that the air smells like home.
    Assimilation is a sign of a job well done.

  20. Kayla

    I’m in Mississippi and we always have to plan for either extreme on Halloween, some years its cold, some years its hot. So we always get costumes that can be dressed up or down depending on the weather. This year Spider-Toddler is going to be a ninja, his costume is light weight long-sleeves and pants, but we bought it in a 3T-4T so that if it’s hot he can wear a onesie under it, and if it’s cooler he can wear long, snug PJ’s underneath. That should make it easier when he comes home from Trick or Treating worn out, we can just take off the top layer and put him in bed!

  21. Karin

    I love Fall – my favorite season of the year – and I’m sure that has nothing to do with my birthday being in October…lol! Even here in the desert of Phoenix it cools off quite dramatically right before Halloween, but usually not enough that we have to dress in too many layers or anything. You’ll figure it all out and by next year you’ll be an old pro at Fall in the South :)

  22. ScottsdaleGirl

    Fall? It is still 97 degrees here (wave to SATAN!)

    ALthough we ARE opening up the house at night because it dips down to a chilly 75.

    Soon enough I shall be bitching about the cold though (65)

  23. Zuska

    Glad to hear you’re feeling more at home.

    Had to laugh at the idea of Monkey with a pony tail; Mega-Boy still loves his long locks, but his are curly so he kinda’ looks like one of the Brady Bunch boys back in the ’70s, and I absolutely love the look. We know a 12-year old boy who has VERY long gorgeously silky hair; he goes to sleep-away camp and apparently this summer, his nickname was “the girl” and he was absolutely fine with that!

  24. Matty the Stranger

    I grew up in Indiana and Autumn is my favorite season. Now that I live in the desert, Autumn lasts about 6 min. LOL Love your descriptions!

    Matty the Stranger

    ps- my son, “Fish”, tends toward the “girly” when his hair is long… lucky for me his mom takes charge on that!

  25. Andrea

    Sweet and well-stated, as always. :)

    I guess we could add “It must be Fall because the Christmas decor is already out in the stores.” Argh.

  26. The Other Jamie

    I needed a post like this today, thanks! We moved from the Dallas area to the Tucson area in April and I was having a home-sick-pity-party-for-1 last week. We’re in a rental while our new house is being built. Once move into it in December, I’m sure this will feel much more like home!

    It’s starting to feel like fall here, too – only in the high 80s/low 90s during the day, but the mid-60s overnight, so the mornings are a little bit crisp. Nice!

  27. Bob

    ponytail! rock it, Monkey. I had mine in a braid yesterday while mowing the lawn.

  28. Crisanne

    Sounds like time to bake an apple pie. You know, to christen the fall house smell.

    As for the costume, plan for possiblity for layering underneath. You never really know what it’ll be like. But it adds a bit of mystery to the whole planning thing!

  29. ChristieNY

    I’m with Crisanne, I was just going to say that it’s time to bake an apple pie – that will surely add to the “fall house smell”!

    I’m so happy you’re settling in – by the way, did you ever get your unravelled slippers mended? May be time to dig them out or deal hunt for a new pair! ;)

  30. Sarah

    Glad to see you’re starting to feel at home in your new place! Enjoy your Fall.

  31. Dani

    This made me smile. :)

  32. Sheila

    It must be Fall because here (in Wisconsin) my kids are wearing shorts and sandals, but next week they’ll probably be in mittens and snowboots.

    So glad the cloud seems to be lifting for you and that the only things falling from the sky are green leaves (oh, and tree limbs).

  33. Lulu

    “It must be Fall because we crack the windows at night and let the cool air snake over the windowsills and down the wall, where it creeps along until it find my toes…”

    Um, are you sure that the cracking the windows/snake part is such a good idea? You know, with the sleep-talking and all…

  34. Ani

    It must be Fall because the lost-and-found pile at the elementary school is growing to epic proportions as the kiddos demand sweatshirts in the morning that will be discarded in the playground when it gets to 80 degrees.

  35. Jenna

    Oh, you made me miss the autumns of my childhood! I LOVE fall, but here in Los Angeles, where I live now, there is hardly a change in season. sigh. Fall is so cozy and delightful, and perfect for early morning cups of hot cocoa and afternoon naps after reading a good book.

  36. kathylynn

    I absolutely love fall. I am so ready for cooler weather and it’s not coming! It is still in the 80’s everyday. It is supposed to be 90 on Friday. This is the first year I can’t wait til winter!

  37. Laura

    Hi. I’m delurking today (although I’ve commented a couple of times before). I love this – very evocative of fall in the south. I canot wait for some of that to make it’s way down to South Texas.

  38. Heidi

    It must be fall because our natural food store, which makes wonderful soup, featured pumpkin soup yesterday. It was delicious–who woulda thunk it. Oh yeah, and nothing says fall like 22 degrees in the morning…

  39. kate setzer kamphausen

    Lemonade booze tea, Jenny! *That* is what I need to be drinking tonight. Thank you!!

  40. MyStarbucks

    I am in the midwest. Where are you? It is about 80 here too and yes, some of the trees are changing and some are not. It is weird. I know it’s fall because football is the all encompassing activity inside and outside our home. I love it!

  41. Heather

    I’m glad the air is smelling home-like for you :-)

  42. dynamitt

    As much as I like things that comes with fall (the beautiful leaves for one) I am not really a fan of fall it makes me realize that winter is here soon and winter is way to cold.

    I think I would have liked living in a place with just one warm season all year. Its spring here right now and I’m counting the days down to summer – I want to wear shorts again and retire my sweater.

  43. Tracey

    On the other side of the world, I’ve just been complaining that we seem to have skipped Spring, so enjoy your Between Season, with all the other stuff that is coming with settling in to a new place. About 10 years ago we moved from further south, and higher up, where we had much colder winters, and much more defined seasons. There were deciduous trees there too, so in autumn you knew it was autumn. Up here on the coast you barely know it’s autumn because there are hardly any trees that lose their leaves. It’s kind of weird.

  44. Cele

    Oh, it has to be Fall because it is the start of good sleeping weather.

  45. Carolyn

    I love fall in the south, you can finally enjoy being outside. It’s not as dramatically pretty as it is up north though.
    When my daughter was 2 it snowed here in Georgia on Halloween(she’s 16 now). That was about the only year I remember it being super cold. Happy Fall!!

  46. Terri

    You forgot to mention that it must be fall because of all the football frenzy. ;) I love fall in the South, hope you do, too! I’m so glad about the last bit, that you’re home.

  47. Heather Cook

    Dude. The day you wrote this it was 2C or 30F when I got in my truck to go to work.

    And I still saw a teenager crossing the street, texting and not checking for traffic…. in shorts.

    Heather in Canada.

  48. Jess

    Well here in the MW it is fall but it is fall with temps in the high 80’s. I would be thankful for 50 degree weather, falling leaves and the smell of smashed pumpkins in the air.

    Instead we sat outside today and watched DS#1 play football. Those poor boys were sweating like pigs by the time they were done. I have never wanted a football game to end quicker than I did today.

  49. Jaime

    Mmmm….. apples and soup. Yes, the best part of Fall is the food.

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