Strictly speaking, the first day of autumn falls on September 23 this year. At least, that’s how it will happen for the rest of the world. Here in Seattle, autumn pretty begins the day after Bumbershoot. Sometimes it even gets going during Bumbershoot, like an impatient child. There’s no reasoning with it; all one can do is to retrieve the scarf, hoodie and jacket from the back of the closet, fish the months-old movie and concert ticket stubs out of the pockets, and put on the environment suit once more. You’ll be wearing it until next April.
It may feel like we’ve been cheated. Seattle’s summer started very late this year; there’s no denying it. Seems like only yesterday that we were wishing each other a “happy Junevember” through arched eyebrows and chattering teeth. But we oughtn’t blame the messenger. Autumn is a wonderful season; it’s ever been my favorite. I loved Seattle autumn before I even knew what it looked like — back when I was still living in Las Vegas and could only imagine cool air and turning leaves. In my head I had a picture of Seattle autumn that I thought to be pretty accurate, but the reality matched and surpassed it.
Autumn is the only one of Seattle’s seasons that doesn’t have the capacity to disappoint. We don’t complain when it gets unseasonably warm, and when it turns cold and rainy we simply flip up our hoods, shrug it off and make camp at Victrola or Fiore. No matter how cool, cloudy, gray and wet the skies may turn in September, October and November, I have always known worse days and have seldom wanted for better. This is truly an Autumn town, and I look forward to seeing it become itself.
Here’s what we have to look forward to:
The skies will crackle and burn.
We’ll drink our weight in steamed milk.
We’ll see people with umbrellas and we’ll wonder if they’re Californians.
Pumpkins in front of every market. You can’t have the cephalopod in the sailor hat; he’s mine.
Have you picked out a Halloween costume yet? ‘Cos you know she already has.
We’ll get a jump on our holiday shopping.
And we’ll see rain gutters full of these objects. Not sure where they come from.
PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR