Oh, these nippy September mornings! I shrug on a fleece to coach at 6am and delight in the earliest signs of fall colors on our oak and cottonwood trees. This morning, I added pumpkin spice creamer to my coffee and hummed a tuneless "it's almost fall" ditty as the house fan ran and Daniel got ready for school. The euphoria only lasted until a strong, black licorice-turned-bad scent of asphalt assaulted my senses. A peek through our open screen door revealed early shift workers out administering black tar to the cracks in our street, rushing to repair roads before our Colorado summer-fall turns to fall-winter.
The morning's themes continued as I dodged roadwork signs to pick up Daniel's new black suit at the tailors. Angling my car into impossible parking spots at Trader Joe's, where half the parking lot was blocked off in Tetris shapes for new asphalt, I swore several times and had to breathe deeply as a red SUV nearly backed into my little Mazda.
Once inside TJ's, I indulged my craving for autumnal peace and bought orange and purple flowers, pumpkin spice yogurt, even a PS smoothie from Nekter, next door. The potassium-fueled drink helped me maneuver two heavy bags of groceries around cones and under yellow caution tape back to my vehicle, commiserating with fellow shoppers turned pack mules, forced to leave our shopping carts at the door.
As I waited to extricate myself from the parking lot maze, I dreamed of getting up into the mountains to see the aspen slopes turn gold. We shouldn't have to 'get away' to enjoy the season that's right here in backyards and neighborhood greenbelts, but with every locality tainted by toxic fumes and crazily busy suburbanites, I see fall at this altitude in the onset of pumpkin spice and orange lawn decor. The mountains call me, as they do tens of thousands of other leaf-peepers, with whom I will share my hiking trails when we finally escape to the hills.
What will we crave in future falls, as weather, seasonal temperatures and natural disasters continue to flux and disrupt our routines? Will it still be flavored coffees, lattes and yogurts, or will we simply dream of cooler air and the outfit changes of healthy trees? At the very least, I hope we're less reliant on cars, roads and resulting asphalt updates.