It’s fall, y’all.
I see my blogging sisteren (the female answer to brethren) writing about fall. Pumpkin latte recipes. (Well, anything involving pumpkin. And spice). Knitting projects. Photos of kids frolicking in leaves.
Cute boots and sweaters.
Ladies-only blog hops, pumpkin patches, autumnal decorations. Posts lamenting the end of summer. Poetry. Did I mention recipes? Mom and craft and DYI bloggers blog and craft and share all this stuff.
Then they say things like “love this!”, and pin it.
Well, I might love it, but I don’t pin.
I too look forward to my autumn scarves, plum pullovers, and pumpkin spice cider. I love drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway on an NFL Sunday afternoon, picnic in tow, marathon Air Supply playlists.
Is that plum? Or mulberry?
That action is followed by marathon shopping at Garden Ridge, choosing whimsical scarecrow centerpieces and fun orange and yellow napkins.
Endless scarecrows and napkins. Actually, I don’t know plum from mulberry, save my pumpkin for pancakes and pie, and would be miserable, even in the beauty of the Carolina mountains, so far from my NFL team (Denver Broncos).
(Bye-weeks are made by Jesus for paying the piper in Garden Ridge. Plan ahead.)
Fall to me is the changing leaves in Carolina, especially those along the Blue Ridge Parkway. If that’s too crowded for you, just the view from the big windows in front of the Ingle’s grocery store off Interstate 26.
(If I was a bag boy there, I’d smash many loaves of bread under canned goods because of the distracting view.)
It could be changing leaves of the forest behind the visitors’ bench at Armfield Athletic Center in Greensboro, Guilford College’s football home. It’ll divert your eyes like as a sorority-house roadside charity carwash, and force you to miss a play or two on the field.
Easily. It’s God, showing off.
Stolen shirts and reddened cheeks
It could also be the changing leaves on my favorite disc golf courses. They force me to move from yellow and orange and red discs to bright blue or get lost on the forest floor. It’s Elise stealing my UnderArmour again.
She wears it on the soccer pitch beneath her lime-green jersey, adjusting to the fast play of grounds covered with post-summer grass, barren and brown.
That Marie’s cheeks will turn red, but her play won’t decline. That Grace will ask to squirm out of her undershirt and brave the cooler air. It’s a morning run, topped with fresh chilled air instead of humid leftovers of yesterday, devoid of bugs.
My run is framed on one side by the rising sun, on the other, the setting moon. For a moment both fight for the same sky, one on each of my shoulders.
It’s fall birthdays for the oldest two, days as apt to bring snow as 75-degree sunshine. It’s tournaments and runny noses in practice and the aroma of Carolina grills that won’t ever go cold.
Maybe it’s baseball that means something, that my Colorado Rockies even played once, in 2008. It’s too-late-for-school-kids Fox broadcasts of games, each pitch a story, each camera fixed on a fan who dies a thousand deaths with every runner stranded.
It’s my grandma’s pumpkin empanadas. It’s field trips with my girls, picnics to draft a birth plan, park visits to watch Elise feed the ducks. It’s Marie, age 6, in a rose garden, dressed in pink and wearing a tiara. It’s Grace, mapping streets with sidewalk chalk and navigating them on her scooter.
So good, and yet so bad (for the environment)
Or maybe it’s just the barbecue talking.
North Carolina barbecue. Vinegar-based, civic-organization cooked overnight, lumped with slaw on a plain white hamburger bun (sorry, Mrs. Obama), served in Styrofoam (sorry Greenpeace).
Wafting on the still-warm Carolina air, distracting me on the sideline, prompting my players to say, “hey coach … smell that cookin’?”
There are no pumpkin lattes, no fall colors in my wardrobe. No seasonal sweaters odes to the summer over too fast. You’ll find crisp morning air, matches played in long-sleeves (oftentimes sneakily procured) on hardened grounds still warmed by the Carolina sun.
You’ll find my teams, fighting for every ball, attacking the postgame snacks relentlessly.
You’ll find a coach in search of the nearest ‘cue. And you’ll find me reading all about the pumpkin patches and pumpkin desserts and DYI pumpkin Halloween costumes for the way-too-cute toddler, because I love that part of fall, too – reading those blogs.
Just don’t expect me to pin it. I’m a dude, after all.