Falling in love with fall

A small boy sits on the ground facing away from the camera. He is surrounded by orange, yellow and brown leaves which have fallen from the trees.
Autumn in PA

Would you believe me if I told you that I didn’t really understand the fascination with fall/autumn before we moved to Pennsylvania?  It’s true, but after a few weeks, I definitely started falling in love with fall!

Let me back up a bit.  We moved to PA in the late summer of 2018 from Scotland in the UK.  We’ve since moved back to the UK because, you know, military life, but in 2018 we were just setting out on our American Adventure.

You might have heard the stories about how much it rains in Scotland…they’re mostly true!  It doesn’t rain every day but it does rain a lot.  Put it this way, even in summer I wouldn’t go anywhere without a jacket or umbrella, just in case!

So when it comes to autumn (as we call it), it’s a pretty wet and miserable affair.  Yes the leaves change colour but unless you catch it on a bright and sunny day, it’s just not that pretty to look at.  A blustery day means the leaves fall from the trees quickly.  A pile of wet, mushy, orange leaves is just not the same, is it?

A tree with only a few leaves stands in the background. The ground all around the tree is covered in pink and red leaves which have fallen from the tree.
Fall in PA

There also isn’t that big a difference in temperature between summer and autumn in Scotland so, to be honest, it doesn’t always feel like a distinct season.  In Scotland, a standard joke is that you can experience all four seasons in one day.  It is rooted in truth, the weather is changeable at best! Winter is noticeably colder but there isn’t much of a change as the leaves start to turn.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I absolutely love Scotland and I will rave about how beautiful a country it is to anyone who will listen.  In fact, I encourage you to visit and see for yourself. Just make sure you pack a jacket!

So how did I end up falling in love with fall?  I moved somewhere that has four distinct seasons, that’s how!

We lived near Harrisburg, PA and found ourselves in a glorious summer. It was around 50-60 degrees (Fahrenheit) hotter than in Scotland. What a difference that made!

By the time the weather started to cool, our Scottish blood was ready for it and it was something of a relief.  We certainly enjoyed the hotter weather and couldn’t believe our luck that we got to experience it for more than a two-week vacation.  That said, it was also quite a culture shock for us.  By the time the weather started to turn we all breathed a sigh of relief, especially that first year.

A large tree stands behind a low stone wall. The leaves of the tree are green on lower branches and change into a strong red on the higher branches.
Falling in love with fall in PA.

But that isn’t all I loved about fall…the colours of the trees were amazing.  Yellows, oranges, deep reds – it was all so beautiful.  We do have a lot of very beautiful scenery in Scotland.  There are hills and mountains that will take your breath away.  When it comes to individual trees on a residential street, it is amazing how quickly they can be reduced to mulch with one wet and windy autumn day.

This is why I had never really understood the fascination with celebrating fall/autumn.  When I started to notice fall decor arriving in the stores around us in PA, I was a bit confused to be honest.  However, when I saw the beautiful colours around and felt the intensity of summer starting to fade to a more bearable temperature, I got it.  I finally understood what all the fuss was about.

I’ve also learned that part of the excitement about fall is the anticipation of what is to come.  The holidays are approaching!  This is another big difference from ‘home’ though.  In Scotland, we do celebrate Hallowe’en but it’s not as big a deal as it is stateside.  We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all and even Valentine’s Day isn’t much of a celebration here.  Most people in Scotland do celebrate Christmas but that is a long way off when autumn arrives so we don’t really have that anticipation of upcoming celebrations.

But, as it turned out, falling in love with fall is something that happens each year in PA.  Apart from the beautiful colours in the trees, the sunsets are also to die for.  For a while, the sky turned to fire for a short time each night and it was breathtaking.  We would sometimes just stand on our doorstep in the evening and watch the daylight fade.

So, coming from a girl who grew up being unable to distinguish between June and September weather, fall in Pennsylvania was a thing of wonder.  I remember the last fall we experienced in PA and it was the first ‘last time’ we talked about before we moved back to the UK.

Now I’m the girl with pumpkin decor and autumn wreaths on the door.  I have fully embraced it and will continue to do so, even when we are back in Scotland and the weather doesn’t cooperate!

Are you falling in love with fall?