A Pacific Coast Vacation

The sea! the sea! the open sea!
The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
— Bryan W. Procter excerpt from “The Sea” ca. 1837

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At what point do we acknowledge autumn’s arrival?

When is it each year that we relinquish the carefree days of summer?

When do we trade the universal perfume of freshly mown grass for the unmistakable scent of raked leaves?

Is there a specific moment when we no longer notice the smells of swimming pools and wet towels, but embrace the aroma of crackling fireplaces and baking pies?

Does autumn officially arrive only once we have donned our first sweatshirt, noted the earlier hour of twilight each day, or witnessed the first golden leaves of change on the trees?

Is there a specific moment in time when we are no longer aware of the rhythmic clacking of skateboards traveling past the house or admit to missing the hollow echos of nearby bouncing balls and the exuberant, joyful laugher of children?

Is autumn’s arrival evident only once we recognize a new quiet; a quiet hauntingly void of the sounds of chirping crickets and singing birds?

Do we hear autumn’s arrival in the thunderous sound of crowds cheering favored football teams to victory in the chill of the evening air?

Is this when autumn has truly arrived?

I believe autumn arrives the moment we notice.