Saturday, August 4, 2007
Waiting in Vain for Autumn
Autumn has always been my favorite season. My nerdhood status as a child was not helped by the fact that I was the only kid in my neighborhood who by mid-July was chomping at the bit to get back to school. Each new school year was like a new start: new books, new teachers, new subjects, new lunchbox, new cute boys in the class, and yes, new clothes. My mother would often start schlepping us around to buy new school clothes around the second week of summer vacation. I hated the shopping process; it was hot outside, all your friends were spending their days riding bikes and coloring the walls of tree forts with bay berry juice, and who loves to hear over and over how x makes you look fat, or you can't wear y because you're fat, or z hikes up over your butt? But I did enjoy having some new clothes to wear each year. Autumn, much more than New Years, has always felt like the time of new beginnings for me.
Between the sales and the "pre-fall" collections, I still purchase the majority of my clothes this time of year (except for this last winter/spring when I went apesh!t at Forth & Towne before they closed down). Pre-fall clothes are my favorite because a) living in Southern California, these are the items I can wear for 3/4 of the year and b) they most often are the colors that work for me. I'm trying to simplify and re-build my work wardrobe around neutrals, and I'm thrilled that grey is so big this season; it's an easy color for me to wear and looks great when paired with either earth tones (grey and rust is a stunning combo) or with bright accessories.
But Southern California is not the place to live if one's favorite season is Autumn. When most of the rest the country is pulling out those lovely fall sweaters and jackets, and taking walks on crisp mornings past the trees resplendent with colorful foliage, we're sneezing through Santa Ana's (hot winds that blow west off the deserts), stepping outside into 95+ degree temperatures, and choking on smoke from inevitable wildfires. While it's a dry heat, yes, it certainly isn't what October is supposed to be. The weather here doesn't start getting cool enough for sweaters until almost mid-November or even December, but then it will often stay sweater-cool well into June. It doesn't get cool enough, though, to provoke the leaves to turn bright colors, so with a few exceptions they usually just turn brownish-grey and drop off.
Here's a SoCal Autumn Kvetch haiku I wrote a few years back:
gorgeous fall sweaters
in shop windows mocking me
can't wear for months yet
I'll admit, we don't have five foot snowdrifts in the winter or ice storms or lots of muddy slush in the spring, so there are payoffs. But I still miss living where there are actual seasons, especially in the coming months.