Happy little thoughts about autumn.

Summer is not, by far, my favorite season.

When I was younger, there were lots of things to recommend this season: pool parties with all my friends, lots of barbecued chicken and cheeseburgers cooked on the grill, getting thrown into the icy-cold lake by my uncles, weekends spent up at my grandparents’ cabin, boating on Sundays.

But as an adult, summer is sort of disappointing. I’m tired of the crazy-hot weather outside, alternated with the Arctic temperatures of my air-conditioned office. I’m tired of feeling lethargic. I’m tired of my sticky commute. Maybe I just need a vacation — but, unfortunately, being a grown-up means I’d have to pay for it myself. My office shuts down on Friday afternoons, but I still have to work the other four-and-a-half days per week when I’d really rather be outside sunning myself by the pool. And for that matter, while I still love swimming, my fiancé doesn’t know how, and going to the pool by myself isn’t much fun. I’m surrounded by screechy and splashy (and, admittedly, awfully cute) children and intimidated by the slim women tanning in itsy-bitsy bikinis. My grandparents’ cabin is two states away. No one I know owns a boat. And, alas, cheeseburgers from the grill are not on my pre-wedding diet.

Autumn is my favorite season. This preference began back in high school, when autumn meant Friday night football games, band competitions, and the fall play. Just the word “fall” conjures up the feel of soft sweaters and slimy pumpkin seeds, crisp air and a riot of color on the trees, the twin smells of wood smoke and red apples, the taste of my mom’s to-die-for chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and apple dumplings. It’s back-to-school time. Even though I won’t be going back to school this year — for only the second time in 20 years — the season still carries with it a renewed sense of purpose. It means the opening of the theatrical season, with a flock of exciting new plays to see and outings to plan. This year, it also means my wedding.

As my fiancé and I rush out the door in the morning, I remark hopefully that the air is starting to feel cooler, if not quite crisp.

“I don’t want summer to be over yet,” my fiancé says mournfully, visions of grad school homework assignments no doubt dancing in his head.

“I do!” I chirp.

Article © 2006 by Jessica Emanuel