Autumn on the Gulf Coast
And just like that, it’s not summer anymore. Here in the Deep South you get resigned to the heat. It’s the southerner’s constant companion for most of the year. It’s sometimes an uneasy truce – you have no choice but to live with it, so you embrace it. And if you can’t embrace it, you ignore it.
Then one evening in early October you suddenly notice that it’s quiet. The rasp of cicadas that seemed deafening in July has silenced, and all you hear is the gentle chirp of crickets. And if you’re in the swampy places along the coast, you may hear frogs croaking and singing for rain.
The air may only be slightly cooler, but the quality of it changes. The air of midsummer is a physical presence. You can feel it lying on you. The best way I can think of to describe the feeling is if your mom ever hung wet sheets on the line to dry and you accidently walked into them after they’d gotten hot in the sun. Heavy and hot and damp.
Around October the winds begin to blow out of the north, bringing drier air. It feels fresh and frisky. The hazy, blurry days of summer are finally over, and now even the leaves of the trees stand out in bright outline against the clear blue sky. It’s easier to breathe such fresh air. The sunsets become every color of gold, orange, lavender, and red. It’s beautiful.
October is my favorite month because it’s usually clear and dry. I love the cool evenings and the bright, sunny days that are still warm enough for the beach. I love the pumpkin patches that spring up on roadsides. I love the smell of highschool football games – cut grass, churned up dirt, grilling hamburgers, cotton candy, and cigarette smoke. I love yellow and rusty red mums on porch steps. I love having boiled peanuts and a diet Dr Pepper with my sister. I love art festivals and corn mazes and hay rides. I love finally getting to wear a sweater and boots.
I hope that wherever you are this fall, you’re getting to enjoy the season changing. I hope you take time to notice every difference it brings.
Happy Fall, Y’all!