It is Fall around here. We know that because there is a sudden infusion of red amongst all the local leafy greens. Also, the mountain-scarlet has started to fade, and instead of being a boiling 104 degrees outside the temperature has plummeted to a balmy 89. Nearly three-quarter sleeve level!
In addition, we know it is Fall because my freezer is still full of last year's raspberries that I've spent twelve months planning on turning into ruby-clear freezer jam–because I am the kind of mom that wants her kids to grow up and say I'm that kind of mom–but haven't found the time yet. And now it's next year and I feel the jam-bug again so I have to decide between using the old, sort of pre-plastic-surgeried Joan Rivers-looking berries (which would probably taste fine but would have a Brooklyn accent. "Oh! Oh! My Dahhhling! Don't spread me on that! What am I, a schmear?) and chucking them into the compost heap in favor of brand new robust Justin Bieber-looking berries. I AM a Belieber after all. Especially where my raspberries are concerned.
Eh. I'll go with Joan. Justin's got plenty of time to ripen. (Don't ask why I'm comparing my jam-fruit to questionably youthful celebrities. I'm sure it has nothing to do with me writing this in the middle of the night.)
But the biggest reason I know it's Fall? I'm starting to pine for plaid. I can't help it. There's something about Fall that makes me feel my Stuart blood and want to go all Scottish on myself. (Yes. I totally name-dropped there. Did you hear it? "Stuart." As in "Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots." Yeah. We're totally related. We can't really figure out how, but it's all true. It may be through a Livery Boy or Scullery Maid, But I have some Scottish, I tell you! I am quite sure I am the heir to the throne of Scotland and everything plaid. Now to depose the Queen…)
That might be the silliest "But I digress . . ." in history.
I really have no explanation for why I pine for plaid—as well as brilliantly colored leaves, and the canning of fruit, and the wearing of boots, and the nibbling of apples. It must all come down to an association of great memories with these things. Fallen leaves remind me of endless childhoods spent crunching through them, building leaf piles and forts to destroy, and running around in sweaters and ruddy cheeks. Ripened summer fruits take me back to something similar.
And plaid? I had a Black Watch neck scarf as a kid, that I dug out every year until I couldn't find it any more. I don't even know where I got it. But come Fall I'd drape it over one shoulder, trap it at my waist with a belt, and top it off with a little owl-pin I had bought at an end-of-summer yard sale. It was my nod to Fall and all the approaching autumnal holidays. And I got the idea from watching old movies set in English boarding schools or grand old Estates, where everyone seemed to wear plaid, stomp through leaves, and speak with mahvelous accents, saying things like "Jolly good!" and "By Jove!"
Oddly, all of that became my strongest seasonal association–triggered by plaid–and I love it to this day.
So, bless my Stuart blood and the BBC, I'm off to find a bit of tartan to wear. Hopefully the temperatures will drop just enough to ruddy-up the cheeks and put a perfect crisp on the apples. If not, we'll just pull out a movie.
What's your favorite Fall memory-blast?