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My autumn fantasy

Nicole McAlee | Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday was a perfect fall day.
A cloudless blue sky, slowly-but-surely turning leaves fluttering in the light breeze and the crisp tang of changing seasons in the air.
I’ve waited long enough. Sheesh.
The fading of summer and the arrival of autumn is one of my favorite things in the world. At home in Pennsylvania, it is arguably (and reliably) the most beautiful time of year. I have this kind of romantic idea about what fall will be like every year. It usually pops into my mind around Sept. 15 and makes me unnaturally excited for the coming weeks.
Here’s how my fantasy looks: When the clock strikes midnight on Sept. 30, the temperature immediately drops. I’m talking high of 63 degrees, low of 44 every day. I open my drawers to find only oversized sweaters and knobby knit scarves in shades of rust and vermilion. A steaming pumpkin spice latte is in my hand at all times. Pumpkins are arranged artistically in the bed of a vintage pickup truck.  Warm-colored candles glow on the windowsill.
I should know better than to count on the weather in South Bend, but that’s what I get for being an optimist. And an occasional Pinterest browser.
Here’s the reality: The high on Saturday was 80. I wore shorts and sweated inelegantly at the Keough Chariot Race. I opted for iced tea instead of a pumpkin spice latte during my last Starbucks run. I drive a pumpkin-free 2005 Honda Accord and not a vintage pickup truck. Candles are a fire hazard and thus not allowed in the dorms.
So yeah, this fall doesn’t really jive with the carefully planned (and pinned) ideal.
And the thing is, I really shouldn’t complain. Visions of pumpkin spice lattes may be dancing in my head, but soon enough I’ll wake up every morning to a high of 37 degrees, and I’ll kick myself for ever wishing the weather would turn cold.
On Sunday, that perfect fall day, I told a friend that I’d like to hit the pause button on the weather. If I woke up every day and it was exactly like Sunday, I would be perfectly content.
He paused and squinted at me.
“So … you want to go to Stanford,” he said.
Hold on, man. I never said that. Let it never be said that I wanted to go to Stanford. Keep your voice down.
On second thought, I’ll take that South Bend volatility.