Fall started at about 4:12 PM MST, Friday, September 15, but I didn't notice it until about ten minutes later.
I know there are more than a few of you out there who are looking at your screens with a dumbfounded look on your face saying something to the effect of, "Why, Optimistic., fall doesn't technically start until the 21st of the month. Haven't you heard of the autumnal equinox?" Yes, dear readers, I am aware of the equinox. I know fall hasn't started yet according to the calendar. However, when I went outside yesterday, it felt like fall, and I'm far more inclined to trust my feelings than a calendar when it comes to my perception of the seasons. As of about 4:12 yesterday, it's officially fall for me.
Describing what I mean when I say it "felt like fall" is something far more difficult than just proclaiming it to be fall, though. Something fells very different than summer when it switches to fall. Part of it, I think is triggered by the change in temperature. It was cooler and breezy yesterday when I realized that it had become fall, but somehow, the cooler and breezy feeling was inside me as well as on the outside. I felt crisp and brisk. I felt like autumn.
I felt, now that I think of it, the combined force of the memories of twenty-three autumns all at once. While walking toward work, I was suddenly struck by a vision of myself going to a Halloween performance at night in first grade. I don't remember any of the particulars of the performance (although a video tape documents me wearing a bunny rabbit costume), I do remember walking to my elementary school in the cool dark of a late October night in California with the smell of candy corn and musty construction paper wet with glue on the air. I didn't smell that on my way to work yesterday, but the crisp feel of an autumn breeze triggers that memory (and thus that smell) in my mind. To me, fall is an orange construction paper pumpkin soaked with a little too much Elmer's Glue.
Unfortunately, fall only lasted until about 6:45, when winter took over with the onset of a persistent drizzling rain. That was fast.