Cooler days have finally arrived.  Low humidity, a bit of a breeze, a high clear sky - they all together signal (finally) fall.  The sun is a different kind of warm now, not so harsh and glaring, and the neighbor's cat who used to sack out in the cool under the shrubbery has come out to bask in the afternoon rays.  Church parking lots and front lawns are turning into seas of pumpkins - so many churches are selling pumpkins as fundraisers these days and many will also sell Christmas trees and greenery to bolster income in the last quarter of the fiscal year.  A few leaves are beginning to turn, too, and in the days to come, despite chillier breezes, the afternoons will still seem warm, their extremities wrapped in blankets of orange and yellow and red and gold.

Fall in all its physical glory also signals the time when melancholy begins to creep in.  The days are shorter, daylight comes later in the mornings so that we get up in the dark, and we know that through the curtain of leaves the stark skeletons of bare trees lurk.  We know what's ahead - a barer, colder time devoid of much color and warmth.  Soon enough we will seek refuge in hot drinks, gloves and scarves, jackets and boots.  We will notice the passing of time; we will note the passing of friends and family as the feast of All Saints' nears.  And holidays are on the horizon, bringing with them the sadness that often strikes during times we feel we are supposed to be joyful.

But for now, we are still just at the beginning of the slide into what will become winter.  The warmth is welcome, the colors cheerful, the respite from the heat and humidity a daily occasion for gratitude.  Sometimes we enjoy best the times we know are fleeting.