Fall officially arrived for another year back on Monday, Sept. 23.

Until the past few days, it has felt nothing like fall. The dead of summer would certainly be more accurate in a description. Less than a week ago the temperatures in the afternoon soared into the upper 90s

Even for October in Georgia that is hot, very hot.

Eventually cooler temperatures did arrive. The highs were in the lower 80s, and while that is still warm it certainly did not feel like the sauna we had been dealing with.

Summer is not as bad as many think. I certainly prefer it to winter. Even the winters in Georgia seem to get colder each year.

Still when fall weather begins to arrive most, including myself, are ready for it.

Already autumn decorations could be seen at various businesses and homes almost as soon as September arrived despite the summer-like temperatures staying with us. Stores have been displaying Halloween decorations and candy (lots of candy) since late July it seems.

Fall has always been a favorite season of mine. The only drawback I can think of is that it means winter is getting closer. Still, we will have several weeks of perfect weather conditions (in theory) and that’s what I try to focus on and enjoy. We won’t even discuss how several forecasts are calling for a below normal cold winter this year.

One of the great things about autumn is that we leave behind the scorching temperatures which we deal with during the summer. After weeks of having to keep up with grass cutting and other outside duties, it is nice to have a break or at the least not have to do those chores so often.

Fall is something many people (certainly myself) associate with football. Watching college football on a Saturday afternoon in the fall, whether in person or on television, is an American pastime, especially in the South. The pre-game buildup begins early on Saturdays and games last until early Sunday morning. Personally I love the games which kick off at 10:30 on Saturday nights.

The first few games of the season are still met with hot weather and it seems high school officials in state are determined to make August the starting point for the sport. It’s a bad thing and really needs to be changed. Playing football in early or mid-August is extremely dangerous, really as much as the concussion scare dealt with today.

Waking up in the mornings and enjoying the more comfortable temperature is a rite of fall as well. We all know about walking outside on that first crisp morning when it does not already feel 90 degrees or more with high humidity. “Fall” is what immediately goes through our minds when that morning arrives.

Halloween seems to be a favorite holiday for many, both young and old. I’m amazed at how many adults I know who still look forward to Halloween as much as they do Christmas. It likely goes back to our childhood when Halloween meant the opportunity to dress up and get free candy. Of course, many young people today dress as if every day is Halloween complete with hair of all colors.

One of my favorite events growing up was the annual Halloween carnival my school held. It was a chance to win those prizes which were worth maybe a dime, go on a hayride and walk through the haunted house that was set up under the bleachers on one side of the school gym.

Of course, numerous towns have fall festivals each year. They often date back decades. That is true for my hometown which has its “Deer Festival” each year drawing visitors from close and far.

Since I have lived in north Georgia, fall always brings magnificent colors. From brown to yellow to red to orange, the changing of the season brings enjoyment to our all our senses, especially sight.

A drive into the Rabun County area is easily doable from where I live and it is almost breathtaking to see the colors explode this time of year. I often think this would be an ideal place to live until I remind myself what it would be like in December, January and February.

With fall now officially here, I say let’s roll out the welcome mat now and make it last a few more days. We still have a few weeks of hot weather but eventually the heat will lose its grasp and it will be more enjoyable to be outside or simply be in the car.

Fort Yargo State Park is a favorite destination of mine during fall as it offers beauty for the eyes and comfort for the mind and body.

The next changing of the seasons won’t be as anticipated but summer to fall is always welcome. Now if we can just keep the temperature in the 70s until spring all will be fine.

Winder resident Chris Bridges is a former editor for the Barrow News-Journal. He has earned awards for his columns from the National Newspaper Association, the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Sports Writers Association. He welcomes feedback from readers at pchrisbridges@gmail.com.

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