It's not fall, yet. When I drive through my small town in the evening the bugs still hum and the heat still rises off the asphalt until well after dark. But it is dark, and that's the point. It's dark sooner and the cool of the evening starts to take hold at a sane hour. I can drive with the window day and the breeze comes around me, instead of at me. I can smell dryness, instead of moist grass clippings.

This time of year I am already dreaming of jackets and cold mornings when I can blow the steam off my coffee with visible breath. I want that feeling of hands that need pockets, instead of a head that needs the shade.

To me this cooling off period is better than spring, which is a leap between seasons. Fall, at least here, is more gradual, a smooth descent into winter.

The combination of shorter days, school schedules and gradual drops in temperature lead toward a speedier world around me. No more languid summer evenings, fighting the humidity and mosquitos. No more drives just for the sake of AC.

In the fall you hurry before the leaves turn too fast- from lemon yellow to neon orange to brown, toast. You get to the apples before they fall, but after they are ripe enough-juicy and bitter. You savor one more night of outdoor dip cones, before inside is warmer.

It would not be the same if it was always so, the transition, the brevity of it, are what gives it that charm to me. I feel it tugging me there, even in the heat of August.

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