Autumn is by far my favorite season. I’ve always thought that it has been often overlooked by people who worship the summer and dread the winter, but for me, autumn is always far too short. Cool and crisp sunlight days made unimaginably brilliant by the bright colors of hardwood leaves just before they drop to the ground… it’s an amazing time of the year. As far as I’m concerned, a brilliant fall day is a good enough excuse to miss work, class, family reunions, or even 50th wedding celebrations.
It’s a shame then, that Carteret County doesn’t have an autumn. I know that if you look it up, we’re on the southern edge of the cool temperate zone and so one might think that we have all four seasons, but the reality is that the ocean plays havoc with our weather and here on the coast we go straight from the Blazing Heat of Summer to the Rainy Sogginess of Winter. It amuses me to watch people around here grasp at straws (figuratively, of course… we can’t grow hay here, either) whenever the weather clouds over for a day or two and the temperature drops down into the high 70’s. “Ooh it’s autumn already and it’s so brisk and cool outside!”
I think that there are two possible reasons that people around here so easily mistake the local weather with autumn. The first is that they have so badly seared all the nerve endings in their skin in search of the perfect tan during the summer that they’ve lost the ability to accurately judge the ambient temperature. Anything below 85 degrees causes them to shiver and think that it is cold outside. The second and altogether more depressing scenario is that these people have heard and read about glorious autumns and are so desperate for the experience themselves that they perform a kind of self hypnosis that allows them to superimpose the vision of a proper autumn over the sad and droopy reality.
I can’t recommend highly enough taking time out of your life to visit the Appalachians in October. Even if you are unlucky and it rains a bit, it’ll still be worth your time to get a taste of what I’m talking about.
So out of respect for yourselves and those of us who have actually experienced the sublime joy of a perfect fall day, please refrain from referring to our current cold front as cool, cold, or (I have to change weather news stations again) brisk.