It’s been a hot summer. There’s no doubt. The word sweltering comes to mind. But, it’s okay. I’ve enjoyed numerous dips in the lake, some sweaty hikes, and warm summer nights on my porch drinking microbrew. Independence Day. A couple road trips to the beach and out of state. Yes, Portland, Oregon in the summertime is amazing… especially when we get one of these super-hot ones.
But, it’s starting to happen. That little bite in the night time air, that morning chill, that putting on of your jacket before your morning commute. Football on the television. That’s right: autumn is almost upon us.
My favorite time of year is the end of summer/beginning of autumn. The days are still warm, but the nights get a pleasant, cleansing chill. I can still sit on my porch in the evenings and chat with my neighbors. I don’t yet have to rake my yard and the leaves still have some green. Plus, it’s a harbinger to my favorite holiday: Christmas.
Autumn in Portland brings sidewalks crunchy with colorful leaves. Strolling through downtown in late September, I am treated to a spectacle of vibrant orange, yellows, and even purples and pink trees, the color of sunsets. Strange, that the death of these leaves brings with it such beauty. Even though I know that I’m going to have to rake the leaves off my yard sooner rather than later, it still fills me with a sense of peace and fulfillment.
Starbucks and other coffee shops will reintroduce pumpkin spice lattes. Delis will sell out of pumpkin pie. Sports bars will be packed on Saturdays and Sundays with football lovers—the smack of two bodies colliding at full speed is almost as synonymous with fall as the sound of the crunching leaves beneath our feet.
In October, we will go to the pumpkin patch and enjoy hot apple cider, corn mazes, hay mazes and hay rides. We will take our gourds home, turn them into scary, silly, weird, and/or artistic jack-o-lanterns and decorate our front porches with them. These will be the forerunner for my wife’s favorite holiday: Halloween.
High school football games will be a hang out. A place to see our friends and neighbors, a way to check in with everyone, even as we prepare for the semi-hibernation of Portland winter. These nights, filled with sportsmanship, hot cocoa and hot apple cider are some of my favorites, and they remind me of some of my own failed attempts on the football field.
Autumn in Portland, Oregon is absolutely fantastic. It’s crisp, but typically clear. It’s nearly as colorful as springtime and, above all, it’s a stunning reminder of why we like to call Portland, Oregon home. It’s a reprieve from the hot summer and serves a gentle guide into winter and a new year. I love it.