Leaf watch

I’ve been on Leaf Watch for weeks already.

Up in New York, reds and yellows were already erupting. The trees along the highway back to Buffalo were a riot of color. In my boyfriend’s hometown, fall will be here — is practically here — before we’ll see a golden leaf in Maryland. It was exciting to be in a place where the seasons are already shifting, subtly but perceptibly, while at home our hot, dry summer persists.

It’s starting to change, though. When the calendar flips to September, the odd tree in my neighborhood will begin to shed its leaves. This year’s record-breaking drought probably pushed many local trees over the edge, and I’m starting to see a few browns mixed in with the green. Those barely count, though. They’re more “dead” and “changing.”

I’ve always loved fall. Maybe because it coincided with a new school year, and I got to break out my new notebooks and pens. Maybe because of Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, or the appearance of my beloved pumpkin spice lattes. Maybe because I love when Maryland’s humidity breaks and leaves us with crystal-blue skies. And I love the craft fairs, the hay rides, the pumpkin patches. I love getting out my cardigans, hopping into my boots. I love apple cider and hunkering down with books and the return of my favorite TV shows.

In summer, the world sleeps. And it begins anew in fall.

It’s a delicate time, autumn — just after the horrible heat, before the crushing cold. There’s a sense of sadness sometimes. Impermanence.

And I guess I like that, too.