Today is First Sweater Day! Well, it is for me at least. Today is a scratchy-wool, red-and-navy, polo-style day with a stray fiber causing my neck to itch. Today is unhemmed sleeves with edges that roll back a little. Today, I have to admit, is an Abercrombie day.
First Sweater Day is always exciting because only then is it really fall, no matter what the calendar says. Fall was my favorite season when I was a kid. I’m an October baby, so fall always meant birthday parties and presents and cake. My hometown has a street festival every autumn, arriving near my birthday, so fall also always meant bad food and carnival rides and pretty girls.
Fall is back-to-school time and I was always geek enough to love that. I mean, how couldn’t you love back-to-school time? New clothes, new people to meet, new books to read. It always made me completely neurotic, but I still loved it.
A couple of years ago, when I went to grad school, I moved down to Bloomington from Indianapolis and I bought new clothes and new shoes and then I went out and bought all my books. And then, on Orientation Day, I cycled in, hyper and nervous, to the main library in a new white T-shirt and new blue jeans but it had rained and all this road grime splattered up onto my T and I went into the bathroom and sponged off as much of it as I could, convinced I had totally ruined my chance to make a good first impression.
Late fall, after the leaves have fallen and the trees have the beauty of stark, fractal potential, is delicious and bittersweet. When people around me complain that the trees are barren and the skies are gray, I secretly disdain them for being impatient and unimaginative.
I’m old fashioned. I think there’s truth in the seasons and their metaphors. The leaves and limbs and grass and husks rot away over the winter so we can have fresh topsoil in the spring to nurture the new greens and yellows and reds and blues that everyone else worships so much.