Fall is my favorite time of year. Yesterday was 75 and sunny and perfect. Today is drizzly and 75; tomorrow will be rainy and a bit colder, I suspect. I love love love when the trees start to turn and the weather turns chilly and it's jeans-and-sweatshirt weather. I love when it's too cold to sleep with the windows open but not cold enough to turn on the heat. I love the mums and the high school football games and the pumpkins. I love pulling out fall and Halloween decorations. I love baking oatmeal cookies and buying candy "for Halloween" a month in advance.
This is the time of year I feel most alive.
Last week when I drove past our local high school the lights were on over the football field and a pack of girls crossed the street in front of me, on their way to the game. Back when I was that age, the Friday Night Football Game was the place to be. My friends and I would pour wine coolers into 32-ounce "Hawk Mugs" the local Hardee's sold and sneak them into the game. We'd walk around the track while the game happened so we could See and Be Seen. The cool kids hung out behind the home goal posts. The stoners held court underneath the bleachers. Some kids lined the fence around the field and actually watched the game. The liquor made the lights brighter than they were and now makes some of my memories surreal. We'd wear green and white and sing the fight song and drink our drinks fast so we wouldn't actually get caught with the goods. Afterwards we'd drive around the back country roads and try to find the after-game party, or we'd hang out on the square and be obnoxious, or we'd drive to Jerseyville to get pizza. Anything to sober up before curfew.
This is the time of year I feel most nostalgic. It's weird, too, because I didn't really like high school all that much. I don't keep in contact with hardly anyone I went to high school with. All I wanted was to graduate, leave, and never go back. I have no intention of ever living there, but when I think about my hometown, this time of year especially, I get the warm fuzzies.