Every season has its own particular mood, so to speak, and unique characteristics that come with that time of year. Generally with fall, we think of the changing of the leaves, the harvest, shorter days, warm colors and even warmer sweaters. Then, depending where in the world you are there might be more distinct things you associate with fall: be it holidays, season-specific foods, sights and smells, or how you change the way you dress.
I have this theory that each season has particular places where it is best spent. And I mean more than, It's nice to vacation in Greece in the summer. What I’m saying is, there are places that truly thrive during certain seasons, that have traditions and characteristics that embody that season in a truly beautiful and one of a kind way. For me, fall is best enjoyed in the state of Texas.
I realize that this late into the month of November that we are at the end of the autumn season, however only in the past couple weeks has it truly felt like fall in Texas. Here in Dallas, we’re still having sunny days that get up to 70 degrees. While some people might argue that’s simply too warm for fall, and protest, When will I ever be able to wear my favorite knit sweater, ugh!, I might point out that the gradual transition into colder weather allows us to really enjoy every minute of the changing seasons. In some places, the leaves turn from green to yellow to red to brown and dead on the ground in the blink of an eye; meanwhile here, everyday I walk outside, the trees display a different, delightful and more richer shade than the day before. This is just one of the many things I love about this time of year here, and so this week, before we get ready to replace our pumpkins with snowmen and Santas, I’d like to share with you all the things that have me convinced that Texas is one of the best places to spend the fall.
Now, you don’t have to be from Texas to be able to relate to the feeling that football is inextricably linked with the fall season; that’s something any American can understand. However, here down south, football is not just a pastime, it is a way of life. You can hardly go anywhere in public on a Thursday, Sunday, or Monday without hearing the all-too-familiar NFL dun-dun-dun-dunnn theme song echoing from a bar or restaurant. Then there’s Fridays, which are devoted to youth football (Texas is the original Friday Night Lights after all), and then of course Saturdays, where college football is king. Furthermore, football is not just about the game, it’s practically a recurring holiday every weekend of the season. There are so many aspects to how one spends their chosen game day: from the outfit to the brunch location to over-the-top pregames and drinking rituals, to the number of flat screens available for viewing, to the tailgate or the Boulevard, and the post-game winning celebration and then doing it all again the next day. It all sounds like madness but… it is so, unbelievably fun, not just to have a day party or an excuse to eat pizza and drink beer, but to be a part of something that practically everyone is involved in, is really, well, unifying. When I am away from Texas and I hear that NFL opening theme I get homesick, not just for the game, but for the uninhibited celebration that comes along with it.
As a music lover, I am constantly driven to find the perfect song for everything in life. Fall in Texas for me carries with it this very nostalgic feeling for reasons I’m not really sure how to describe. But something in me is very drawn accompanying autumn activities with classic rock. One might argue that country music is the obvious choice for any given moment in Texas, when really, starting off a Saturday morning with some freshly made bacon and Tom Petty or Eagles is the ultimate match. Something really puts you in the Southern state of mind when you hear a Rolling Stones hit at a tailgate, or CCR being played on acoustic guitar by a fire under the big Texan sky. It’s really, in a way, enchanting. I've put together a Spotify playlist to give you an idea of the songs that spark that feeling inside me, so check it out below.
Not to mention, live music is just about everywhere in Texas this time of year. There’s certainly a handful of festivals to pick from - my favorite being Austin City Limits, which with it’s combination of folk, electronic, indie, top 20 and bands your parents listened to reunited for the first time in 10 years sorts of artists, is the highlight of fall for me. But then there’s all these outdoor beer gardens we Texans just can’t get enough of, and what else could go better with cold beeritas and fire pits but a live band of course! And, for the record, the whole experience ain’t complete until you hear the one, the only, “Wagon Wheel.”
THE WARM, FALL WEATHER.
As I’ve mentioned, some people here are so opposed to the fact that fall in Texas means crisp mornings and a high of 75, but to me, that’s the best part. The summers here are so hot that you’d have to be crazy to leave any refrigerated building and risk melting in the sun. So when the days finally cool down in October, all of a sudden everything you do is outside. It’s great to go for a morning walk, have lunch on a patio, bike and longboard and roller blade along the trails, and, of course, tailgate. It’s not only the libations that have you feeling a certain way on your day off, it’s also the vitamin D. Texas turns into an idyllic fall landscape, with leaves every shade of yellow, orange and red, and yet, green grass on the lawn and flowers still blooming, all juxtaposed with the countryside corn fields and pumpkin patches. And besides, when the temperature does start to drop, it ain’t nothin’ a North Face and a fire pit can’t remedy :)
So there you have it, folks. The essentials of a Texas fall. It may not seem like a lot, but these are the things that not only make me happy this time of year, but are what make me feel at home. If you’re ever curious, come on down and I’ll show you what I mean :)