Autumn in Austin


Now that the buzz of Halloween has simmered down a bit and we’re in the full swing of a true Austin Autumn I can only note the sheer oddness of 6pm nightfalls when it’s still warm outside. Coming from Pennsylvania where by the beginning of November it’s cold enough to make you want to stay inside or, at least, wear a proper winter jacket, the fact that I can have all of my doors and windows open and walk around outdoors in flip flops just feels wrong, somehow. Warm and good, of course, but wrong…

I also feel like I’m at a loss for something to do! If it were freezing cold outside and getting dark so early, I wouldn’t feel out of place. Late Autumn and Winter in Pennsylvania is the time of hot chocolate, Bailey’s and family movie nights.

But with warm weather comes the allure of bike rides, long walking adventures and sitting on restaurant patios enjoying evening drinks. When the night falls and I feel lured inside, it’s a taunting tug of war feeling.

Another observation is the lack of the trees changing in color. I’m very fond of the new paint job a northern Autumn gives the world every year, and in fact very much do revel in it. Perhaps it’s the balance needed to keep humankind out and about, enjoying the world, able to suffer through the fallingly chilling temperatures. As the leaves brighten up our world it takes the edge off of the reality of colder days and evenings, and it all seems to blend together long enough to make it to the New Years’ lights. Nature in this region doesn’t need to change colors because it doesn’t get all that cold. In fact, most people here complain about the ridiculously high temperatures in summer, as though we need to watch out for those and that this season is the best, in fact, the welcomed one.

I believe I’m finding that the natural progression of the seasons is probably very much instilled in my mind as how things should be, and without witnessing them, without being a part of that happening, my body feels a little out of touch with reality. Even to the point that I wonder what effect that might have on the human psyche.

For example, every year there’s a day when I first “smell Autumn” as I like to put it. Where you walk outside one day and it just hits you, now it’s Fall. The same thing happens for every season, at some point you can just feel that it’s changed, and with that, you feel the ever-present passage of time, which in turn makes you more aware of the fact that your life is limited and you should be taking advantage of what little time you do have. Eliminate that cue from nature and what is the repercussion? Is a lack of awareness of time more likely to make us want to do less with our lives, like a child on a playdate, it’s only once they realize they’re running out of time that they start to hustle around, sometimes trying to squeeze more out of life. But sometimes, they just sit and scream and cry and try to convince their parents that they should stay longer. Doing so rarely gets the parent to change their mind, instead, it just wastes more of the time that could have been spent playing.

I don’t have the answer for certain, but I would imagine a life of endless summer would at least give you more actual days to get out and do life. If those days are spent as well as a northern summer day, that is the question.