The great state of Mississippi finally got a touch of fall weather in the middle of this past week. This statement requires some qualification, of course--we're talking mid-80s as the high every day, with mornings brisk enough for a long-sleeved shirt if you're so inclined (which I'm not). People here wear t-shirts and shorts on Halloween, not long-johns under their costumes like where I grew up (this fact considerably improves the look of the midriff-baring Princess Jasmine combo).
Nevertheless, there's a breeze in the air and the humidity has taken a vacation to the tropics; later-blooming goldenrod is flowering all over the wild spots in the highway medians and ditches; the butterflies that folks up north have said goodbye to are flitting in between the wall frames going up on new houses being built on the beach, and hummingbirds are attacking my car when I pull up to a stop sign too close to their feeding ground (those buggers are territorial!). I've come to feel a surprising affection for the scruffy sycamore, the only tree that shows signs (albeit brown and yellow signs, not the festive red-orange-gold kind) of jumping on the fall bandwagon. It seems to have filled out all at once in a drunken foliate spree, then woken up the next morning to regret its profligate ways and promptly shed its leaves like half-eaten canapes that have been left out all night. Sycamore, you rascal!
The other way I know fall has arrived? The construction supers at the Habitat for Humanity house I worked on this morning had labeled all the interior walls and their future locations on the subfloor according to the Patriots and Colts football teams: "Hey, where's Randy Moss? Let's get him up here right next to Tom Brady and pound a few nails into him. Then we'll work on Peyton."