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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Fall starts today, that love-it-hate-it season before the plague of winter sets in. Hate it because of what it replaces (summer, yay!), what it precedes (winter, boo!), and its unfortunate association with school (words unfit for public view.)

But love it, too, for its myriad redeeming qualities.

The town of Franklin has little flags hanging on every lamp post, and there are a lot of lamp posts in Franklin. Every season they swap out the flags. I haven’t been into town yet but I assume the new flags are there. They change them like clockwork.

The flags, if the past four years are anything to judge by, say Happy Fall Y’all. It is, in my opinion, the only acceptable use of the word y’all. Sort of the south’s version of poetry.

Sometimes Tennessee forgets that it’s fall and it’s just more summer until suddenly it’s ten below and everything is covered in ice.

We’ll see what happens this year.

It’s been a balmy 80-ish degrees all month, which works for me.

Once you get past the whole back-to-school travesty, you can start looking forward to the good fall things. Like pumpkin things.

And more pumpkin things.

Pumpkinfest in downtown Franklin.

I know it’s sort of a cliché at this point to start seeing all the pumpkin stuff but it’s no more cliché than having Valentine candy on the shelves every January. I don’t know why pumpkin gets people so in a bunch and is cause for great snark, but I’ll eat pumpkin anything all fall long.

Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin scones. Pumpkin and sage gnocchi. Pumpkin pie.

All the pies. Look up fall in the dictionary and it will say see: pie.

Apple, pecan, chocolate. Any combination of.

CL’s Not Very Famous But Still Delicious Apple Pie.

Fall is soup season. It’s when you crave a crockpot full of chili and a bread bowl full of potato leek. You can eat soup any time of the year, but it is most delicious on a chilly day when you’re all wrapped up in a blanket.

MMMMmmmmmmmm corn chowder. Soup is so many excuses to eat all the bread, too.

You get to pull out your cozy blankets in fall. Not the big fat winter ones, but the soft afghans, the ones you wrap around your shoulders with just enough space to stick your hands out and hold your bowl of soup.

Fall is pinecones and acorns. It’s colorful crunchy leaves up to your ankles.

One out of one deer agrees: all the crunchy leaves are best.

It’s when you get to pull out your fuzzy socks, which makes having to put socks on a bit more tolerable.

It’s fire making season.

Fall puts me in a rustic state of mind. Cozy cabins, lots of wood, the smell of wet leaves and dry wood and smoky fires and baking things.

Fall is hay bales and scarecrows. Apple picking and pumpkin picking and big ears of colorful Indian corn.

It’s so hard to pick just one!

Fall is all my favorite colors. I’ve never been a pastel person, so all the cute little spring bunny types of colors are not for me. Winter… forget it. And as much as I love summer, it’s an awful lot of green.

Fall though, puts on its regal best. It’s the time of year you get to use words like maroon and burgundy, camel and caramel, crimson, amber, scarlet and carnelian. It makes color sound so very much more impressive than being merely red or yellow.

Name that color.

It’s the time of year you get to burn all your candles, as many as you want, whenever you want. You can fill the house with the scent of cedar and mint or persimmon and chestnut or pumpkin and spice.

Fall is hot chocolate and Oktoberfest beer. It’s when you switch from iced tea back to hot tea and all the honey that implies.

Fall is when you get to drink cocktails like this.

Fall is all the zucchini.

As I was pondering the bounty of fall, I scanned through my photos from the past few years to find supporting evidence of its grandeur. Alas! I could find nary a gourd nor a slice of pumpkin pie. I suspect my photo search is messing with me because it refused to cough up a single photo of a pinecone, acorn or squirrel and I know there are at least a few of those somewhere. But since I’d rather be enjoying fall than searching for photos of it, I will undertake a new fall photo project this year and fill my camera with all the colorful and delicious goodness.

In the meantime I suddenly have a burning urge to peruse my soup recipes and make my next pie plan of attack.

Butternut squash soup with pumpkin seeds. Too perfect.

Photo: a tree in front of the water tower in Brigantine. It goes from puffy pink flowers in spring to an explosion of crimson in fall.