MATTHEWS: On the arrival of autumn 

Pumpkin Patches. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Though, officially speaking, the first day of autumn isn’t until Saturday, Sept. 23 this year, the first day of Meteorological Fall was ― and always is ― on Sept. 1. 

But no matter which day it actually starts, it certainly felt like fall for a good chunk of last week in my part of the state thanks in part to the rain we got from what was left of Hurricane Idalia. 

You walked out the door to sit on the porch or run errands and weren’t immediately enveloped in the thick humidity that is normally felt in the summer months. In the mornings, the cool, crisp breezes and calm, clear skies were a welcome reprieve from the hot sun rays that typically hit you right in the face. 

As if to confirm, the leaves on some of the trees also appeared to be starting their gradual color change to what we’re used to seeing around this time of year, with golden yellows, bright oranges, deep reds and crisp browns peeking out ever so slightly from underneath the green leaves. 

Relatedly, the NFL’s first regular season game — featuring the Detroit Lions at the Kansas City Chiefs — will be played Thursday, which is another unofficial signal that fall is just around the corner. That, along with the blow of the whistle at the beginning of high school football season, is enough to give many an autumn reveler the warm fuzzies. 

The arrival of fall, of course, would not be complete without the annual reintroduction of some of our favorite sweet treats, flavors and scents, like all things pumpkin including pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salted caramel, hot apple cider — the list goes on. 

Then there is the fall decorating, which even if you’re not much into decorating around the house takes on a whole new meaning this time of year. I’m usually proud of myself at the end of the season when I’m able to clear out at least one bin full of decor to donate — only to turn right back around and fill up another bin with the items I bought at all of the half-off sales (which also happens to me right after Christmas!). 

Let’s not forget the light jackets, soft and fuzzy sweaters, and plush throw blankets that reappear in the fall months, which along with sweet-smelling candles help to keep us warm and cozy on those cool nights. 

In September and October, we eagerly prepare ourselves for the haunted trail/house events, the Halloween costume parties, the trick-or-treating on Halloween night and everything in between. 

In November, of course, comes the bare trees and the planning for the Thanksgiving festivities, with friendly competitions breaking out among friends and neighbors as to who will serve up the biggest, most delicious turkey. 

Most importantly, as it is with all seasons, there are myriad excuses we are given to spend more time with family and friends to relish each other’s company, to have fun and maybe relax a little, and to share in the good times and joy of just being able to hang out with each other. 

For a lot of people, fall is the best time of the year. I’m a springtime girl, but I admit autumn is a close second. 

The older you get, the faster time flies. So enjoy every minute of the fall, y’all. 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.