I love fall. I’ve loved fall everywhere I’ve ever lived, not that there are that many different places in my personal roadmap.
I was born outside of Chicago and spent most of the first eight years of my life in that area, with a short foray to the hills of North Carolina. The entire rest of my life has been lived in Texas, here in Paris and in Austin.
Fall in Northern Indiana comes early, usually, and gives way quickly to the lake-effect snows and blisteringly cold temperatures of real winter weather, making heavy coats and gloves and waterproof boots required wear.
Living up north, I never missed a day of school because of snow or ice. If the schools up there closed down due to winter weather, they’d have to close for weeks on end, and that would make for some seriously undereducated kids.
I remember the first time the schools here in Paris closed down after what I thought of as a light dusting of snowflakes fell across the city.
I was astonished at the reactions of the people. My sister and I had tramped through snow up to our waists to get to the school bus stop three blocks away and here we were missing classes because of a few flurries piled up on the windshields of the cars.
Ice storms were something new and different, however. I have no recollection of ice storms living up north. Things can get icy up north, yes, but not the way they do here, where the ice falls from the sky and coats everything, bringing trees limbs and powerlines crashing to the ground under the weight of all that frozen precipitation. Snow is not nearly as dangerous as sheets of ice.
Fall in the hills of North Carolina was nippy but colorful with no snow as I recall, but lots of cold rain.
When I lived in Austin for a few years, as a student and a young newspaper worker, fall was a time of beer drinking and spectacularly weird Halloween events, leading up to days that never really got cold enough to pull out the winter coats.
I recall students roaming campus in shorts and flip flops and tanning in the malls and celebrating the end of the semester with a dip in the pool at their apartment complex before packing up and heading home for the holidays.
Fall in Texas used to mean an end to the sweating and air conditioners going mostly silent, but that may be changing.
It’s October, at last, and, yes we do seem to be finally past the long, hot summer, and, yes, we are in for some nippy weather this coming weekend, but forecasters are telling us the warm weather is not gone just yet here in Texas.
The National Weather Service is predicting above average temperatures across the entire country through the end of the year, after what has turned out to be the hottest summer on record in the northern hemisphere.
Here in Northeast Texas, it rarely snows before December with January and February the months most likely to see what little frozen precipitation we go get. Let’s just hope we get some snow, at all.