Autumn is my favorite season. Despite the fact that I've lived with San Francisco's subtle seasonal shifts for over 3 decades, I still associate this time of year with raking scarlet foliage, breathing in the rich smoky aroma of burning leaves, and layering sweaters against the cooling days and crisper evenings. (Something we do all year round in San Francisco!)
But even in a somewhat mono-climate, where the few deciduous trees quietly curl and relinquish their browning leaves only to have them quickly swept away by street cleaners, we West Coast city-dwellers have ways of marking and identifying the changing season. The reminders I have noted over the past week: rust-toned paper leaves strung in the window of a small dress shop in North Beach, roasting peppers and barrels of apples at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, the changing demographic of the cable car riders from families to an older crowd that doesn't plan their vacations around the school year, more English and Mandarin, less French, Italian and German spoken on the street as the Europeans head back home.
But what signals autumn most clearly to me is the change in light. Today is the equinox, but for weeks the light has been drifting slowly to a lower angle that stretches shadows of buildings, hills, trees and pedestrians. This shift of light, with its blend of melancholy and fading abundance, is incredibly moving to me; I can imagine my soul leaning into its tangible presence.
What signals the arrival of autumn for you?