My First Autumn in Seattle

When I decided to attend the University of Washington, it meant that I was moving away from sunny Southern California where I had lived all my life, to Seattle, the emerald city notorious for the rain. Believe me, I’ve gotten all the comments about my decision, ranging from reminders about bringing an umbrella to making sure I get enough Vitamin D. But the one I get the most often are jokes about getting to experience more than one season year-round.

I’m here to tell you that despite the many stereotypes, Southern California actually does have more than one season year-round. And they are: earthquakes, fires, mudslides, and finally, denial.

All jokes aside, I loved growing up where it was sunny almost every day, and it’s true when they say that you never realize what you have until it’s gone. Yet, more than ever I am so excited to get to experience the seasons like I never had before. For once, I get to walk outside and really notice the world changing around me, and not just as a slight dip in the temperature.

This brings me to my first autumn in Seattle. It has been an experience like no other to witness a changing of the season for the first time. Unlike what I was used to, it wasn’t just the season of sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes, but instead a time of all the little things that brought me to really love fall like never before.

To begin with, autumn is absolutely beautiful. For the first time ever, I got to see the leaves outside my dorm room window change from yellow, to orange, to red, before covering the ground in a warm rainbow. When I walked around campus, I couldn’t help but go out of my way to step on the leaves just to hear the satisfying crunch under my feet.  

And when I’m outside, I love seeing the sky change from a dreary grey to a brilliant blue. It feels as if the sky is always shifting, not sure if it’s ready to settle down with the gloomy overcast or hold onto the last few rays of summer. There is something just so beautiful about the different looks of the fall, where it can be both gloriously colorful or muted by dark hues.

Not only are the changing colors so vibrant, but the weather to me is dream-like. Where I live, the summers are easily over a hundred degrees, the winters are dry and boring, and the spring really makes my allergies act up. Autumn in Seattle is perfect to me: it’s an amazing mix of sun and clouds with a slight chill in the air to create some of my favorite weather. Although I miss hot days at the beach, nothing compares to the soft breeze of an autumn afternoon.

Actually, autumn is just the best time for all the senses. For the first time, I’ve been able to really sense autumn in the air. The mingling scents of the dry leaves on the ground gives the air such a distinguishing earthly aroma – one I love to take in as I appreciate the nature around me.

Finally, I saved one of the best for last. Something that is severely lacking in California is the spirit of change in the air. Where the seasons stay basically the same year-round, it can be hard to notice and appreciate everything that may have shifted, both with the world and with yourself. But the beautiful thing about autumn is that it’s supposed to be a time of change, a season of new beginnings, and a chance to appreciate how much you have grown in the last year. Getting that visible reminder every day allows me to reflect upon how much I have changed, from the girl who wanted nothing more than to stay in-state to the current University of Washington student.  

Yes, there are most definitely days I want the sky to be blue and the sun to be shining, where I want to go to back to California where every day is perfect. But then I look out my window and I see all the beautiful changes that autumn brings with it. California to Washington was a big change for me, but it was an important decision, one I’m taking one day at a time. This first autumn in Seattle was an enlightening experience to this native Californian, and I can’t wait to see what the other seasons will bring.