Easing into Fall

25 Aug

Having spent this entire week in the SCORCHING heat of Scottsdale, AZ this week, I’ve been looking forward to heading back to Chicago and the start of the fall weather there.

Growing up, I was always all about summer. I have a summer birthday. I lived outdoors 12 hours a day or more, riding bikes, swimming at the pool, playing baseball, etc. But as I got older, I began to appreciate fall more and more. Here’s what I love about fall:

First of all, the weather. In Chicago, spring is an “iffy” thing – in fact most of us question its existence altogether. It always seems like we go from the frigid temps of late February and early March directly to sudden 75-80 degree, summer-like warmth in April, only to have days and sometimes weeks of damp, miserable, cold weather clear through until mid-June when WHAM, it is full-on summer time. Much of that can be blamed on our old pal to the east, Lake Michigan. Unless you’ve lived next to that monster of a weather-maker, you really can’t appreciate it. On a beautiful May day, you can be enjoying 80-degree weather with bright sunshine, and then all of a sudden the wind will shift to the east off Lake Michigan and the temps will drop into the low 50s in 15 minutes.

In the Fall, however, the pattern is reversed – the land is often cooler than Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is warm instead of cold, and those sudden shifts don’t happen. The result – nice, stable weather every day with gentle breezes from the west. The gradual cooling is especially refreshing at night – the temps get cool enough to require a sweater, you can fire up the firepit without roasting, and you can enjoy opening up the house at night and letting those breezes blow through and freshen things up.

Then there’s a return to normalcy from the chaos of the summer. As I got older – into High School – I really began to appreciate heading back to school and getting back into the daily routine of it. College was always a blast to return to – heading to your favorite pizza place or bar, and seeing people you hadn’t seen in months. And now that I’m a dad with a college kid and two high school-age kids, the return to a normal schedule is very much appreciated. While you have less time to do things, ironically, because there is a schedule and rhythm, it seems like there is more time.

The change of the season is also welcome. While I’m sorry to see the day lilies stop blooming and the hostas start to turn brown, the changing of the trees is always a spectacular event. The cool nights and warm days are great for the lawn too – the grass seems to get more energized to grow better and crowd out those dandelions that grew when the lawn was crispy and thin during July. It is a time to do outdoor projects like plant bulbs, prune bushes and clean things up. All a pleasure.

And then there are the activities – Football games, tailgates, long walks outdoors when the temps are such that you don’t get soaked in sweat, early sunsets, outdoor cocktails by the firepit and under the patio heaters, later sunrises that let me sleep in a bit later. Bike rides. Farmer’s markets. Later in the fall, corn mazes and walks among the leaves. Barbecues that end with everyone enjoying the glow of the fire and the cool night air.

My pal “GASHM” and his wife “1.1” were over last evening – we sat outside and sparked up a good fire in the firepit. I’m traveling today so we shifted our standing Wednesday night cocktail appointment to Monday night. We talked about how good it was getting back into the routine of school, and while we were talking, I was thinking about how much I was going to enjoy this fall. The twins started back to school today, and while I miss Joel, I know he’s down at UofI, having a blast, getting back into his fall groove as well.

There are about 8 more weeks of great weather left for this year in Chicago until the cold, grey weather of late fall and early winter sets in. I intend to get the most out of them. See you out there – I’ll be the guy shuffling his feet through the fallen leaves, wearing a sweatshirt and happy about it.

As you were,

Stew

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One Response to “Easing into Fall”

  1. carpetbagger August 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Fall’s the bomb. I’m ashamed to admit that once the temperatures climb to around the 90 degree mark, I am counting the days until Autumn. If only it lasted twice as long and went directly into Spring. Love Fall. Love the colors, the smells, the temps, the activities (football!), the flavors… everything. Living in Pennsylvania just seems to magnify the season with our tree-covered mountains and winding country roads.

    Psyched that the highs fall to the low 70s next week!

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