An Official Notice from Fall

It’s officially fall in Southern California, not that that means much here. September 21 came barreling through, promoting the upcoming days of a lusty fall complete with the updated Starbucks seasonal menu. But the sun was still shining and the palm trees looked ever so graceful highlighted by the cloudless skies, making one think about the beach rather than cider.

And then came the heat. For such a mild summer, it was shocking to be lambasted by days reaching into the 110s. We were witnesses to history, the news told us, when downtown Los Angeles reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature on record. Where was our perfect weather, the high a blissful 85 degrees? LA’s a desert, I kept hearing, but no it’s really chaparral and September is always one of the warmer months.

There is no doubt that there is global warming, but listening to the throngs of co-workers discuss how strange the weather is, how extreme our weather patterns are nowadays, I wanted to tell them, it’s just because you’re not a local! Every September when school would start, we would be suffocated by the heat in our 1960s classrooms, authentically un-air-conditioned. We could wear the dreadful navy blue shorts until October and then it was back to the long pants and skirts of our uniforms. Everyone wondered why it was such a firm cutoff when October could be just as hot. Or as my mother would always remind us, Halloween was unpredictable, so we better choose a costume that wouldn’t make us too hot but that we could put a sweater over and not ruin our look.

This month, however, has fully addressed the correct seasonal outlook—it has been overcast, rainy, and downright too much like fall. The signs for things like Pumpkin Spice Lattes actually seem appealing in their cheer. I keep thinking if I go around the right street corner I will see leaves changing and blustery winds throwing out the last tinges of summer light.

But that is wishful thinking. I may have pumpkins turning a delightful orange in the vegetable garden, but when one looks up to see if the trees are a similar color, the palm trees tower overhead, creating a dark outline against the ever still, pale blue sky.

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