Why we shouldn't be bummed to wave summer goodbye and welcome fall

Here's something new for me: I've been resisting fall. Usually I love September's back-to-school feeling, but this year, letting go of summer has felt like letting go of something vital and fun forever. Just now, I looked out the window of the coffee shop I'm sitting in to see a flutter of leaves falling to the ground. Okay, so something is being lost: leaves and barbecues and flip-flops. But today marks the autumn equinox, and a clarion call to find a new fall rhythm. It's different than summer's chaos, to be sure, but it offers its own set of charms.

Fall Fun
Okay, let's wipe the tears from our eyes. Fall isn't winter, after all. We've got apple-picking, pumpkin-carving, Billie Holiday's "Autumn in New York," tights, knee socks, fire pits, football, and changing leaves to look forward. There's a lot of cozy, wistful romance to the season. The trick is accepting it for what it is, instead of trying to make it something it isn't.

The Rhythm of Routine
Summer's a flurry of excitement, a hectic, catch-as-catch-can, free-for-all of fun. But it can also lead to a too-much-vacation feeling. You know when you've been staying up too late for days on end, eating food that would make Dr. Weil weep, and kicking back one too many al fresco margaritas? Fall offers a return to structure in our schedule, which can be a welcome change. Even if your gut-level response to this is, "Give me beach clam bakes or give me death!", try to find the silver lining here. We can plan a week of meals without impromptu invitations getting in the way. We can make it back to the gym three times a week. We can get our bedtime back on track. It's not the end of all fun, I keep reminding myself: It's just the end of summer fun. In addition to the particular brand of fall fun, we can also pick up a sense of well-being from a little more predictability in our daily lives.

Coming Inside
The other night I thought I was walking through a J. Crew catalog on my way home. Sitting outside restaurants were people wrapped in light sweaters on top of their shorts, enjoying that kind of night where there's just the right amount of bite in the air. That lasts for, like, five seconds. But even after we move into fall's cooler nights and lose some of our living space when we give up the porch, deck, and backyard, we get to come into our homes. And it's yours! You can make that place as lovely as you have a mind to! Cozy the couch up with new pillows or tackle a project that's been nagging you. If we're going to be inside, might as well make it as nice as possible, right?

Soups, and Turning the Stove Back On
For months, we've all been trying to figure out how to get dinner on the table without heating up the kitchen. Today marks the beginning of a season where the stove clicks back on. But right now, we get the best of both worlds: more fresh tomatoes, zucchini, corn, eggplant, corn and okra than we know what to do with and temperatures that allow for cooking them. It's the perfect time cook up huge batches of soup to stock in the freezer for a taste of summer in the dark days to come. And for tonight, how about a dessert of upside down apple pie made with fall's onslaught of apples?

Okay, so I've just convinced myself that fall is the best of both worlds. Did I sway you, too? What are you most looking forward to about fall?

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