Fall is kind of the worst.
I admire people who love fall. I don’t understand them, but I admire them. I wish I was one of those people who loved fall. I wish I loved sweaters and boots and scarves and cinnamon and pumpkin and yellow leaves as much as the average American seems to. I’m from Vermont, for goodness’ sake. Early on in life the Vermont Tourism Board drips into our blood, via pints of maple syrup, the assertion that we must love fall.
Didn’t work on me, though.
I remember, as a young child, dreading the first change of leaves on the trees near my house. Yellow leaves meant one thing: summer was coming to an end. Soon there would be no more swimming, no more hot sunny days, no more long hours of reading and running to my heart’s content. Changing leaves meant that soon I’d be waiting for the school bus in the dark while wrapped up in at least three layers of sweaters and coats. Soon I’d be milking cows in below-freezing temperatures (it’s about as fun as it sounds). Soon I’d be walking through three-foot snow drifts on a fairly regular basis, trying desperately—and always unsuccessfully—to keep my socks dry.
I live in Colorado now, where winter isn’t quite as ominous as it was in Vermont. Sun actually makes some appearances between the months of October and April, and snow doesn’t stubbornly refuse to ever leave again once it appears on the ground. Still, I think I will forever associate fall with what the season actually symbolizes: death. Death of long, bright days and beautiful gardens. Death of shimmering lakes and days spent reading in front of them. Death of paddleboarding and camping. Death death death death death.
I know--I'm not exactly rolling in cheer today. But in my defense, I tried to turn our heat on this morning and nothing happened. So now I've got a space heater trained on me while I type and I'm crossing my fingers that the HVAC people can squeeze us in somewhere between all the other people who were dropped into this needlessly frigid season with a furnace that decided to take a very unfortunately-timed vacation.
This year I decided to try and embrace fall. I learned to make homemade applesauce with the apples that have been falling incessantly off the tree in our backyard. I made my own butternut squash soup with the squash from my husband’s garden. I’ve been trying to enjoy pulling sweaters out of the back of my closet again and wearing them for the first time in months. I have tickets to see a hockey game this week. See? I keep subconsciously trying to remind myself. You like fall things! Fall WILL be fun this year!
So far? No dice. I still don’t like this season. I'm cold, it's already getting dark and it's not even six o'clock, soup is great but I can eat soup in the summer if I want, and hockey is always exciting, but why do I have to drive through the early fall snowstorm that’s predicted for this weekend just to get home from the game?
Please tell me, fall fans, because I just don’t get it: how is pumpkin spice worth any of this trouble?