I would love to live in a region that has an actual fall season. Autumn begins on the September equinox, which is September 22 this year. Now where I live, it might be 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or it might be 75 degrees on September 22. The same could be true on October 22 as well as November 22. I remember eating Thanksgiving dinner on the picnic table on the patio at my mother-in-law’s house one year when the thermometer registered 84 degrees.
I’m not complaining about the balmy Thanksgiving, and the mild winters are certainly nice when it comes to our heating bills. However, I would dearly love to have more than two weeks of fall, which is about all that we get of my favorite season before we go into winter. For me, autumn is days of crisp 50 and 60 degree temperatures, clear skies, the smells of falling leaves, the sounds of Canada geese. There is no other smell quite like the smell of fall, and the night sky in the fall is incomparable to any other sky at any other time of the year.
I suppose I love fall so much because I have spent fall in the mountains, and it spoils you. A full season of light sweater weather before you really need an outer coat, and then bundling up at night beneath a quilt. Bonfires on the weekends. Hot chocolate. Camping outdoors before it becomes too cold to do so. Looking up at a sky so full of stars that you have a real sense of how endless the universe truly is. And then the beauty of the changing leaves-golds, ambers, and reds so intense that mother earth’s palette comes alive like a magnificent Caravaggio portrait, an odd reversal of masterpieces.
So perhaps you can understand my disappointment at living in an area in which people run their air conditioners well into October. Students wear shorts and flip flops everyday, and then suddenly, they are in jeans, boots, and sweaters for the duration, until the two weeks of spring before summer sets in.
It is an odd place to live, as extreme in its weather as it is in its populace and its politics. But for all of that, I don’t know that I would survive in an area that has a real winter, which is the trade off for a real fall. I like one or two snowfalls, but I hate the bitter cold. I don’t think that I would like to live up north where you have to defrost your car for five minutes before you can go anywhere in the morning. I’ve been too spoiled by my temperate winters.
Ideally, I would like to live in a place that gets no colder than 50 degrees, maybe 45, and no hotter than 80. It should be near the water, and within driving distance of the mountains. Not a big city, but not a small town unless it’s a college town. Do places like this even exist anywhere in the world, and if they do, can I go there with my brood in tow?