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.