Fall comes quietly to the city. You have to be a keen observer of things to catch its beginnings.
In the country the season makes a more obvious splash. Here, the tops of trees start to change color, but the shades are muted, mostly. City hydrangea does a costume change like its country cousin, but you have to look harder to find it, all smushed between wrought iron and brick.
To watch a season change in the city, at least in part, you have to watch the people. They pull woolly socks over their chipping August pedicures and wrap scarves around their necks. They cross to the sunny side of the street on their walk home and order warm drinks at sidewalk cafés. Most of our discrete neighbors will keep their autumnal enthusiasm at bay until October 1st. They'll wait until they flip their calendars and then they'll bedeck their homes with jack-o-lanterns and hay bales and potted chrysanthemums. They'll bring the country right to their stoops.
Inside, we preheat the oven and turn apples into comfort food, suddenly preferring a spoonful of apple crisp to a slice of watermelon. We eat it with the window open and our legs wrapped under a blanket because that's the way to best feel the season when it's only just beginning.
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