Pumpkin and spice and everything nice

A southern Californian’s perspective on fall

Being raised in the outskirts of Los Angeles, deep in the heart of Southern California, I was deprived of actual seasons until I moved to Winnipeg.

In California, we have what we call the “wet season” and the “dry season.” Basically, the period from May until early November most years is sweltering with breath-taking, dry heat. Meanwhile mid-November through to April brings rain and sweater weather.

Seasons were just one of the reasons I moved up north. Now I get to experience a distinct summer, a winter with snow and a spring where colours replace the white and brown of winter.

However, I had no idea what fall would bring.

Before living in Winnipeg year-round, I was under the impression that fall would merely be the season when school came and nothing more — but no. Fall is now autumn to me. And autumn is by far the best.

Going into my second autumn here in Winnipeg, my absolute excitement for the season is exploding out of me. We’ve arrived at the time of year where the air is crisp and the sun is warm, the weather where you need a jacket but can still comfortably exist outside.

My wardrobe is slowly shifting into an array of dark green, burnt umber, and beige. My Birkenstocks are out and my Blundstones are in. My summer clothes are finding their way to hibernation. Everyone looks good in these colours and there is no way you can disagree with me.

And with my outside clothing expression firmly rooted the autumn world, my home is beginning to match. Strung from my ceiling to my floor are orange and red leaves, pumpkin decor on every possible surface and an apple pie scent plugged into the wall. There is nothing better than autumnal decorations. It’s time for my inner suburban mom to shine.

More than the clothes or the colours, autumn arriving means pumpkin spice is in season.

I think we can all agree that we’ve each been through a time in our lives where we severely disagreed with everything pumpkin spice. I remember driving to school one August morning in grade 11, absolutely livid that Starbucks was releasing its fall menu. But not liking pumpkin spice flavour is something that you can change about yourself. Whether you go to Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Degrees or wherever you get your coffee fill, just try it.

You think you’ve seen every part of fall there is to see, that pumpkin spice can (and should) infiltrate every bit of society, and then there’s the food. Autumn is traditionally the harvest season. While I don’t like pumpkin pie, I will never turn down a pumpkin loaf, a gooey cinnamon bun or an apple crisp. Autumn means the food is plentiful and delicious. Sure, you could eat these things at any point in the year, but the joy of eating warm nutmeggy foods is particularly exquisite during autumn.

Above all, autumn means it’s Gilmore Girls season.

Set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Conn., the small-town New England-based Gilmore girls truly personify the feeling of autumn — books, big sweaters, Luke’s coffee and all. There is nothing more “autumn” than Gilmore Girls. Sure, again, you can watch the show at any time of year, but it only feels festive at the beginning of autumn. As the show progresses in tandem with autumn, you get to watch Rory Gilmore go from Chilton Preparatory School to Yale, which feels complete and comforting.

There is truly no counter-argument that the whole-body fuzzy feeling that washes over you when “Where You Lead, I Will Follow” by Carole King plays behind the Gilmore Girls opening sequence is the epitome of autumn.

I cannot wait for the day that overnight, all the leaves on all the trees are painted yellow and orange, and it truly feels like autumn in the air.

You see, autumn means that life gets to slow down. It means that the time of year to enjoy friends and family has arrived. I could go on and on about various foods and decor, but truly what makes autumn my favourite season is the feeling that comes with it.

Autumn is like a giant hug. Autumn is comfort and warmth. We give summer too much credit. Even though fall has not truly begun until Sept. 23, autumn feels like it’s over as soon as it ends. Too quickly the weather goes from 30-degree days, to leaves changing, and then to the cold, colourless abyss of Winnipeg winter. So, start appreciating the season in its entirety, even before it begins on paper. We’re lucky to have it.

If you don’t love autumn, start loving it, because it is beyond the best season.