Warning: this is a cliché-ridden seasonal meditation.
Here in The Other Tiny State Near the Big Water (We’re a bit bigger than Rhode Island, but we have fewer counties—by way of claiming what small distinction we can) it’s finally Fall. Delaware’s seriously pretty in the spring and the whole coming-out-of-dark-winter thing has serious enchantments, but for me, Fall’s the best time. It means that the long days of summer—which in Delaware means that walking outside is usually like diving naked into a swimming pool full of slugs—are gone for a while. Don’t get me wrong—I love the beach and any season that encourages me to throw myself into water (preferably chilly, salty water, but fresh can be lovely, too). But I do not do well with the thick, moist, slimy stuff that passes for air in the Mid-Atlantic summer. I blame Texas, actually: I was born in the middle of May (summer already) in central Texas and got heat rash pretty much along with my first breath, then didn’t thrive until my grandfather flew my mother and me back east to spend time at the beach (there’s the origin of the salt water thing…). Regardless, I do not thrive in the summer months. It’s pretty certain that I will not be retiring to Florida or anyplace else south of Delaware. Maine sounds good.
But it’s Fall. The roadside stands have great heaps and piles of pumpkins—one of my favorite sights on the planet, even though for years I’d have sworn I didn’t like the color orange. The nights are sharp and I can sleep under thicknesses of blanket. The students on my campus mostly put clothes on (the teeny-tiny shorts go away, at least), which means I mutter to myself less about what-did-your-mother-teach-you. Foods with cinnamon and nutmeg appear on menus everywhere. And the holidays loom (a mixed blessing—though this year I intend to skip the whole brine-my-own-turkey dance because one of the shopping clubs is offering a mail-order Turduckhen, so that’s one thing less to think about). But the best thing is that when I walk outside and take a deep breath, the crisp air feels like it’s singing on its way into my lungs, and that it’s pushing them open instead of trying to slime them closed.