The ambiguity of autumn: When does it truly begin?

Summer vacation comes to an end as everyone goes back to work and school. The autumn decor is put back onto the shelves and Starbucks debuts the infamous pumpkin spice latte. And sometimes, this all happens well before any of us are ready to say goodbye to summer.

When it comes to fall, or any seasonal changes that occur, society pushes for it to happen much sooner than it actually does.

For example, businesses in the retail industry promote fall and fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving earlier in order to make the most money from their products associated with these holidays. Therefore, many people use the sight of fall decor in the stores as their own personal starting point for fall.

Often referred to as “pumpkin season,” this is also the time when the first ad for pumpkin spice flavoring for Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks coffee pops up on Facebook. It only progresses further from there. Pumpkins fill the shelves in stores. Halloween stores open for business. People are sharing posts about “sweater weather,” the nearest pumpkin patches and pictures of fluffy socks, blankets, and sweaters.

It is almost like a culture in a sense when you think about it. There is certain clothing to wear in the fall, a specific color scheme associated with the season, and even food and drinks that are made during this time. You do not usually see your grandmother baking a pumpkin roll in the middle of summer, it’s always during fall.

Even places where the weather is warm throughout the year like in California, the people who live there still implement these fall trends into their lives.

Furthermore, many people also use the leaves changing as a gauge to judge when the beginning of fall is. That is when it genuinely feels like fall to me: when the leaves are changing from green to bright orange, red, and yellow. The air becomes brisk and there is a consistent, light breeze outside that gently hits your face. And you can usually just get by without wearing a jacket since it is arguably the perfect temperature outside during this time of the year.

Fall is also a time when there are a lot of outdoor fairs and festivals since the weather is so undeniably pleasant. The Bloomsburg Fair is one of the most well known fairs and fall activities in NEPA that people travel to from all over to go to annually.

Once you go to the Bloomsburg Fair, your idea of fall will change completely. Fall will not be fall without going to the fair at least once.

Last but not least, football season begins at the end of summer and occurs throughout the entirety of the fall season. Whether you’re sitting with a bunch of friends or family inside yelling at the TV watching the game or wearing a hoodie and drinking hot chocolate while watching it at the stadium under the huge bright lights, the experience just screams fall.

It seems as if the fall is when our individual focused, American culture becomes a bit communal.

As a nation, we all decide that fall begins when we begin to grow tired of the summer. It may seem odd, but we do grow tired of seasons after a while.

As a nation known for having a fast pace and wanting things as soon as possible, it seems normal for us to want our seasons to be the same.

We enjoy when things are neat, and clean cut. Ambiguity is something we’re often unhappy with so if we can somehow shorten a season, even mentally, we can reach that goal.

Despite all of these perceptions of when fall begins, the official starting date is Sept. 22, and it lasts until Dec. 21.

The end of fall honestly might be even more shocking to me than the starting date. Well before the time comes, the winter holidays will take have taken over the stores and Christmas music will be playing on the radio.

Our system of dating seasons can also leave a person to question whether we should change our ideas behind seasons? Maybe we should just allow a season to be a season.