Fall is in the air here in Central Illinois. I know because I woke up this morning to a crisp chill breeze floating through the open window in my bedroom. I smiled. Fall is my favorite season for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the departure of allergies and the emergence of gold, red and all the colors in between on the neighborhood trees. There's football of course, although baseball is still around, and the occasional (and illegal inside city limits) smell of burning leaves, but my favorite part of fall is cool nights and clear crisp days. Sweatshirts and jeans are my wardrobe of choice for the weekends, and I dig out my vests and sweaters with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that I look better in them than I do in summer crop pants. Air conditioning is no longer a necessity, but the furnace doesn't kick in until the temps drop really low...somewhere in November. Walking is more fun, kicking the leaves on the sidewalk, feeling the nip when the wind picks up, and watching the kids in their sweaters play in the piles of red and gold parchment nature creates. Apples, freshly picked from the local orchard, taste crisper, look redder (or more golden depending on what we choose) and pumpkins are already on sale for carving.

Some of the summer die-hards will claim there is still plenty of time for warm sun and high temperatures before the end of the month, and they may be right. It is after all only September, with no hard freeze in sight. I however felt the first of fall this morning and welcomed it with open arms.

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