Equinox

While the first day of fall was officially September 22, and the first day of winter is December 21, for me, the autumn season seems to be much shorter.

We attended a friend’s wedding on September 4, and it felt like it could have been June 4. We had some unusually high heat spikes this year, and summer’s sticky fingers seemed to have extended their reach into what should have been the early days of fall. Somewhere on the border of September and October we had a couple of teaser-weeks; two or three days would have pleasantly cool temperatures in the mid-70s, but by the weekend it would shoot back up into the high 80s. The people of New Mexico began to pant for autumn.

Everything seemed to change in a matter of a few days, only a couple of weeks ago. One day it was warm, the next it was almost chilly, and we’ve been basking in the relief of mid-60s weather during the day, and digging the sweaters and scarves out of the corners of our closets for the mid-40 temperatures at night.

This weekend, I used the heater in our apartment for the first time. The air-conditioner has been shut off for the year at work, and when not three weeks ago balloon fiesta tourists came into the store in sweating masses, lured by our ad for a free bottle of water, tonight they are ducking in to escape the cold wind. One woman wore a cable-knit turtle-neck.

Fall’s barely gotten into its full swing, and while many trees still haven’t turned completely yellow, I can already sense winter around the corner. At night, the air has that coldness to it that just almost hurts to breathe; today and yesterday, there was a fine dusting of snow on the mountain’s crest.

My favorite season (perhaps, I wonder, only because I get so tired of summer’s heat) feels like the shortest. Spring brings the same longed-for relief after winter, but it gradually melts into summer, allowing us to acclimate (and pack away those winter coats). This year’s transition from summer to fall was delayed, and sudden, and it’s already getting too cold to go bare-legged, even during the day. Maybe I’m biased because I love clouds and rain, and gray skies and colorful trees (the colors always look brighter under a gray sky), and I’ve never been one to handle heat well, but the fall just feels perfect. Warm enough to still be able to go on walks in comfort, but cool enough to not feel confined to the air-conditioned indoors. It’s finally here, and it’s already leaving. But I suppose that’s just its nature; fall is, after all, inherently a season of change.

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