60 Degree Weather, Falling Leaves, and Other Things Fall Should Be But Isn’t If You Live in North America’s Oven (Which We Humbly Call Arizona)

Fall (n.): the season between summer and winter, often referred to in formal settings or by your conservative grandparents as ‘autumn’, during which the temperature drops, the trees shed their leaves, and the world remembers how tempting pumpkin spice is to add to every conceivable beverage or pastry.

For a native Arizonan, fall isn’t so much a drop in temperature and synchronized shedding of leaves as it is...well, more of the same. More 100 degree days and eternal dampness indicative of classic summer swelter, that is. Arizona’s heat may be a dry one, but I dare you to try to convince anyone who lives here that walking (or biking or standing and breathing) in the Arizona heat is anything less than hell. The only thing that changes for us is that it gets darker about two hours earlier than in previous months and Starbucks starts serving PSLs before the Spirit Halloween stores even rent out their temporary homes.

Long ago I came to terms with the apparent lack of “autumness” in my hometown. This realization came around the time I tried to jump into a pile of mowed dead grass and sparse Sissoo Tree leaves. Much to my dismay, I found drought-stricken dirt instead of the softly padded pillow of fall I had been promised in East Coast-set movies and J. Crew ads from the 1990s.

It is for these reasons that fall is not my favorite season. Had I lived in a different city, one which had more than two seasons--hot and ever so slightly less hot--maybe I’d feel differently. But as it stands, anything resembling “true fall” does not show its face until December...if you’re lucky.

Although winter isn’t valid in Arizona weather terms either, at least by January it’s dropped below 80 degrees. Winter, which I have coined “pseudo-fall” is my favorite season. But being the hopelessly impatient seasonal romantic that I am, I am not about to wait for the weather to align with my “Autumn Leaves” mood. That is to say, as soon as the clock strikes midnight on September 23, it’s Christmas music 24/7.

This particular quirk of mine is a pet peeve of many--believe me, I’ve been shamed by countless friends on more than one occasion. But I don’t tune in to She & Him’s “A Very She & Him Christmas” album pre-October because I want to by-pass Halloween and Thanksgiving (and midterms and finals). I tune in because to me, Christmas spirit is fall spirit. And gosh darn it I’m going to enjoy fall whether I’m drenched in sweat or not.