Jewish World Review Oct. 11, 2005/ 8 Tishrei, 5766

Greg Crosby

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Autumn | We are now officially entering the "warped time" period of every year. From the beginning of October on, the next three months seem to fly by faster than Superman on speed. I don't know if it's because of the Jewish holidays and the fact that so many of my relatives have birthdays this month (including and especially the fascinating and fetching Mrs. Crosby). Then of course come other holidays — everything all on top of each other. For whatever reason, I know that it will be January 2nd in no time at all! We plan on doing some traveling at the end of this month, which always contributes to the season flying by. I'm always glad to greet autumn and see the hot, humid days of summer come to an end. For us in California, it is a relief when the early fall Santa Ana winds finally subside and cooler temps bring the dreaded fire season to a halt for another year.

For awhile there, it seemed like all the plagues of ancient Egypt were being rained on America, what with the Hurricanes of the South and then the brushfires out West. I kept waiting for the locusts to hit next. Homeowners near the fires had a lot to be thankful for this year, thanks to the great work of the brave and dedicated firemen and the luck of the shifting winds. I believe only a couple homes were lost during that whole week of fires. Amazing.

The choking smell of brushfires will soon be replaced by the fragrant, inviting smell of cozy fireplaces once the air turns cool. I find everything gets better when the weather changes. Food tastes better when it's cold outside. Reading a book in a cozy chair next to a fire on a winter's evening is preferable to sitting on a blanket at the beach under the hot sun of August. Having a cocktail is much better on a cold, rainy evening. And going out with friends to a show or dinner is more pleasurable when the air is crisp and has a chill. I always feel warm, cozy and secure during the winter months, I don't know why, but I always have.

Cooler weather means warmer clothes and warmer clothes are always better looking than summer wear. Coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, and scarves have a dresser look and I like that. If summer and spring are the more casual seasons, then autumn and winter are definitely more formal. Naturally in Southern California most everyone will continue to walk around in the same old clothes they've worn all throughout the year — baggy shorts, T-shirts, jeans, flip-flops and running shoes. That's why I really enjoy going back east or up north where I can dress in winter clothes during the cooler months. You don't see a lot of flip-flops and shorts in New York in January.

Because the season goes by so darn quickly it's imperative that you take time out to savor it all. When the leaves on the trees start to change color, notice them. Take a drive out of the city and see the autumn colors — yes, even we in California have fall colors if you look for them. Enjoy the cooler nights, put on a sweater or coat and take a walk in the evening. You'll find it delightful and refreshing and quite a bit different than walking in the evening during the summer months.

If you have a fireplace, buy some wood and use it. There's nothing like a crackling fire on a cold night. Invite some friends over for a drink, a sit-down dinner party or a movie and popcorn. A warm cozy house needs the laughter and camaraderie of people gathered within it; people to smell the fire, drink the cocktails, and eat the delicious food. That's what the autumn and winter seasons mean to me, a time to be with family and friends, telling stories, sharing experiences, and enjoying each other's company. Happy autumn!

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2005 Greg Crosby