Autumn is my favorite time of year, even here in the South, where late September is something completely different than it is where I grew up in northern Illinois.
But the temperature still drops, leaves eventually change color and gingerly fall to the ground, there are pumpkin patches and occasionally nights cool enough for a scarf, hoodie or bon fire -- if not all at the same time.
This year is particularly exciting because of three major fall events: my 30th birthday, my daughter's first Halloween and, just barely squeaking in before the winter solstice, my daughter's first birthday.
This week has been a wonderful welcome to the season, but I'm inclined to be suspicious of such nice weather at this early stage -- mother nature most likely still has some 80- or 90-degree days waiting for us, the last remnants of summer.
Though I've always been partial to this time of year, the reasons have changed slightly as I've gotten older and relocated. Here's what I'm looking forward to this year:
Socks: I rarely wear them during the summer and there's nothing quite like putting on a nice, thick pair of cozy socks to lounge around the house.
Fall scents/flavors: Pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, caramel -- anything orange, red, golden -- it all smells and tastes wonderful, and it's added to every imaginable food, drink or home decor item. The day Starbucks reintroduces the Pumpkin Spice Latte could practically be a national holiday for coffee drinkers. I'm not going to lie -- I've already had one this season.
Decorations: Fall is the only season that begs me to decorate my home. I have garland and a wreath full of muted fall tones and scented candles that make me think of Thanksgiving and hot apple cider. Sure, there are some Halloween items as well, but I enjoy the warmth that fall decor brings -- almost like sitting by a fire.
Knitting: I like to pretend I'll have time to dive into my stash of yarn -- as if I've had time at any other point during the year to do so. But autumn makes me want to make warm attire for the ones I love -- scarves, mittens, socks. I love the idea of sitting outside and watching the leaves fall while working some yarn into something nice and cozy.
Hoodies: This one is definitely a hold-over from my high school days, but there is nothing in the world more comfortable than a hooded sweatshirt. It's like a big hug. And with the mild winter last year, I feel like I haven't been able to wear one in years. Plus, who doesn't love a big pocket right in front of their stomach? It's a great way to hide that baby weight that I maybe haven't completely lost yet...
Football: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the sport, though I think it's important to note that my household leans more toward the professional arena than college play. Bear down!
Katie McCarthy, copy editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515.