Friday, August 21, 2009

How Do You Know Autumn is Arriving in Phoenix?

You forget to put your sunshade up in your car and when you return and put your hands on the steering wheel, you only get second-degree burns and don't need to seek medical help.

The shower can finally give out cool-ish water instead of very warm when turned all the way to "cold."

When the shadows off the cactus grow longer and create crazy hobgoblin shapes across your gravel landscape.

The craft stores shyly fill some shelves with scarecrows and pumpkins and if you stand near an air-conditioning vent and don’t look out the window at heat dancing off the pavement, you can almost imagine it is autumn, especially if you start sniffing the candles. (Caution: this can cause hallucinations of colorful leaves, burning wood, and chilly noses)

Kids go back to school in their brand new fall clothes, tank tops and cargo shorts.

The swimming pool goes from being 96 degrees (the same temperature water hot dog venders use to keep their weiners ready for eating) and becomes a brisk 86 degrees and capable of almost refreshing you (if there’s a powerful breeze and the sun hides behind that one tiny cloud in the sky).

One rainstorm in September comes in from California instead of Mexico and you know things have shifted from the tropics to the Northwest. Following the storm, we’re into “fall,” in that the nights are now in the 70s and the contrast between the 100s to the nighttime feels almost tolerable.

Honestly, the only way to know it’s finally become autumn in Phoenix is to watch the trees, green and robust, finally turning colors in late November/early December. (Everyone’s still wearing shorts, but have a long-sleeved t-shirt on now).

Phoenicians, please step right in and offer some more descriptions.


  1. gnerkiWow! It is hot there, hah? At least you get to swim all year long!

  2. wow...this is neat to read! it really makes me look forward to our autumn colors here in ohio! that's why my bro has a condo in's pnly for getaways in the winter, he said he doesn't want to move there permanently...of course, that may change at any time...a lot of his friends he grew up with here are already there!

  3. Yeah, I admit that I love to swim in cold water most, so I swim a lot in October and March. It actually gets too cold in the winter to swim (low 50s) but I do a polar bear dip-jump in and out before my muscles lock up and I can't get out (hee hee)

    Yeah, Ohio is gorgeous in the fall. I so miss the DC area color changes which usually happened right around Halloween, making it super awesome. I remember this one field I would walk through had a bizarre assortment of trees and I can still remember wearing a sweater, my nose icy cold, and all around me each tree was a completely different color. I'd gather every beautiful leaf (couldn't decide, I like them all) and I'd come home and iron them between wax paper to save them. One autumn, I could smell the woodsmoke, the molding leaves on the ground, the icy bite to the wind, the deep blue sky with white puffy clouds, and the blazing yellows, oranges, reds, neon greens, and browns around me and I spun around in circles in the field until the colors mixed together and it was that moment I called myself "Autumnforest."

  4. Your description is dead on. My son wears his flip-flops all winter long while many others are wearing shorts. I have a convertible and only have a couple of months of good weather to keep the top down without putting on the A/C. An on those months, we usually have bad air advisory. With my bad allergies, a convertible wasn't a good choice. (It was my mid-life crisis car, lol) We do have beautiful winters, it just isn't long enough.

  5. Julie;
    Total agreement. I have a sunroof on my car and I always forget in the winter that I can open it, but then the air is bad then with all the snowbirds, so ick!

  6. That sounds oh so good to me, I would love it! I hate being cold.

    Oh Autumn, I'm nervous, hee hee. I have lived in So Cal all my life and now my husband's company is relocating to...Tennessee, (Clarksville area). That's a world away for me and talk about a change in climate. I hope I can survive.

  7. Sandra;
    I used to live in Redondo Beach--talk about NO SEASONS! We used to kid about it all the time. People would wear fall colored shorts and that's how you'd know it was November. Tennessee, huh? A HUGE change from California, but I must admit a very pleasant one. If you love nature, you'll adore Tennessee. The people are exceptionally warm and sweet and sincere there. I know you'll like that part of it. No fake folks there. Other pro's? Fantastic geology for hauntings (if you like that stuff), unbelievable scenery, close proximity to lots of neat things--the freeways run well in and out of there so you can enjoy a lot of the East Coast. The colors in fall--unbelievable!!! Oh my gosh! The dialect is adorable and not too annoying. Sweet tea. I keep a pitcher in my fridge year-round. It's considered being a bad Southerner if you dont have some when folks drop by. Slower pace. The seasons, ah.... You really get to know the times of year, the springtime literally bursts at its seams, the summers are lazy with lightning bugs blinking around the bushes, the sudden rainstorms in the late afternoons, waking up to a world that's completely white when you slept and it snowed and you had no idea because it makes no sound. Oh boy! I'm sooo envious. What are your con's? Cold. But, cold is easily remedied when you dress for it. You've just never had to layer. You'll learn that. You'll also like the excuse to have a fire in the fireplace and take long hot baths and drink hot cocoa. Civilization. It's not total backwater, but it's nothing like So. Cal. In fact, you'll have to learn that folks stop their cars and talk in the roadway, clerks talk your ear off, and no one's in a hurry. You won't have one bit of trouble finding friends. Everyone will want to adopt you when you don't have family around. My family was the one that always had singles and lonely couples in for Thanksgiving. My mother had this thing about no one being alone. It's part of the Southern mentality. I foresee a weird moment of transition and then a complete change in your world to the point that you "find yourself" there.

  8. Thanks Autumn, you have put me at ease. I have never visited that part of the U.S., but am a little excited for the change. I think my kids will love the snow and I guess I'll have to get use to the cold.
    I would definitely love to check out any haunted spots. If I do, I'll keep in mind all of your tips.
    Since you lived in Redondo Beach, did you ever come up the hill to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, my current home. I have to say I will miss it here, it's so beautiful!
    Anyway, we will be visiting Clarksville in about a week to check out the real estate.
    Thanks again,

  9. No Fall comming here. Temp's are up in the 90's. Looking forward to some cooler weather. Getting tired of the hot stuff!

  10. Sandra;
    Honestly, I feel a great excitement for you, a start of something new that's really quite transformative. The kids will love it--once they make some friends which will be no problem at all. I grew up in Virginia (neighbor) to Tennessee but we spent plenty of time there--great people--great countryside! Seeing seasons and feeling them in your body, it changes your focus completely from the world of "my house, my space" to "our world, our space." You become outdoor and weather directed. It's like rhythms in your body you never knew you had! Yeah, I lived over near South Bay Galleria and spent a lot of time on the beaches at Manhattan and Hermosa and then I used to like to go to that sea world thing they used to have in Palos Verdes with the high divers. Mind you, this was the mid 80s! It's long gone now. I love Palos Verdes. We still have friends there. Hubby worked for Hughes in El Segundo making satellites and I managed a Joel's clothing store at Manhattan Village Mall. Ah, the memories. It was a great place in the 80s with the big hair and crazy clothes and working at a mall. I used to model and do pageants so you can imagine in the big 80s I spent every paycheck on neon lime clothing and fingerless gloves--yeah, I was a total mall rat. :-)

  11. Hahahaha:) loved this Autumnforest -that is such a great name for a pseudo for blogging-it is evocative and like I have said Autumn is by far the favorite of my seasons anywhere i have lived for any length of time-which for me means in colorado and arizona-remembering Autumn in Colorado still provokes the most beautiful feelings of emotion and sentiment in me!! there is a picture of my adored paternal grandmother standing by a tree in our front yard taken sometime in the late 70s probably in Colorado-you can tell she was visiting in Autumn because the trees and the light in the photo give you that feeling instantly -when i see this pic to this day my eyes still tear up (she passed away in Jan 1994) I dont know if it was because of Colorados altitude or what but there was a quality of light in autumn there-to me anyway that was magical -in fact I once thought of naming a story I was working on "A Quality of Light" it kinda sounded pretentious at first but with all of the action in it taking place in late sept to late october i thought (if it ever got published hahaha:) that readers would forgive me as "quality of light" was explained in first paragraph.
    best to you as always and I so can't wait to get to "Autumn" here which like you said means pool water is 86 degrees:) a friend who grew up in Wyoming (actually my ex lover from Denver) couldnt believe Phoenicians stopped using the pools as early in the season as they did-he was here in 2000 think it was in mid to late October and couldnt believe no one else was enjoying the pool!! I told him we were wussies as far as the cold here (altho i love it-but "cold" anymore to me is 60 degrees:) but are so toughened to heat we could probably withstand a nuclear blast!! best to you and your family as always!!

  12. Hey Devin;
    Yeah, I swim until Halloween day and then start again on St. Patty's (I like it to be 67 at least).