My favorite season has finally arrived, complete with all the hoopla about pumpkin spice everything. Now, I am not a fan of pumpkin spice in any way, shape or form, but I do love fall.

I love crispy days and comfortable sleeping weather at night, windows wide open and letting fresh breezes cleanse the stale indoor air. I love hearing the geese fly over, honking their directions at each other as their shadows glide across the ground beneath them. I love the hint of color beginning to tinge the leaves, the beautiful fall wildflowers appearing in waves along the mountains and valleys. I love the final eradication of the bane of my existence, those pesky gnats.

In fact, the only thing I do not like about fall is how it kowtows to summer’s last-ditch effort to hang on even after the calendar shows its time is up. Begone, summer.

I know a lot of folks want to cling to you but they’ve had their special moments. Now, I want mine. I want to drive my non-air conditioned car without getting drenched in sweat. I want the scent of leaves crunched underfoot. I want to walk across a parking lot without becoming a wheezing puddle of melted flesh by the time I get to the door of whatever place I’m visiting.

Is that too much to ask?

Right now, Mother Nature seems a bit confused about which season is which. We’ve gone from ’80s and ’90s to soggy ’70s this week with all the rain. I won’t complain about the rain. Not too long ago we were begging for it to quench the mountain fires and give respite to a parched land.

As I write this column, a heavy shower is pelting the maple tree in my back yard and water is standing on the patio. By the time you read this, the sun most likely will be out. From what I’ve seen of the forecast for next week, the 80s will return with lower humidity before cooler air comes in the following weekend. As all of us know, though, this Tennessee weather can change in a heartbeat.

Talk about confusion — one of my azaleas has been in bloom for a couple of weeks now. It’s a hot pink one in the back yard. Or perhaps it is not confused; rather, it’s taking a turn in the spotlight, all by itself, standing in unique glory among all the others. Does that mean confusion can be beautiful, too?

Added to the unseasonable blossoming, I have three pots full of blooming cucumber plants. The pots are remnants of a small patio garden I attempted a few years ago.

One of these days, I’ll try it again, but in the meantime, I pitch egg shells and scraps of fruits and vegetables in them. The cucumbers sprouted from a rotten one that I cut into several sections and distributed around to see if the seeds would sprout. They did. As of today, the two pots closest to the back door are full of baby cucumbers still wearing a flower hat, but I doubt they will grow large enough to pick. Some insect, one that has hidden itself quite well, has decimated the foliage as well as the potato foliage in another container. The two pots near the edge of the patio are still looking good, although baby cukes haven’t formed quite yet. Can they survive insects and weather long enough to give me a fall harvest? We’ll see.

I saved my favorite part of fall for last, and there is no confusion about this one. My first grandchild, Ellie, celebrates her 11th birthday in early October, the most recent of a half-dozen October babies in my family. Happy birthday, Ellie! And happy birthday to my late mother, my sister, a nephew and a grand-nephew plus some very special friends.

If that’s not a fantastic reason to celebrate fall, I don’t know what is.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at Lindas Inkyfingers@ comcast.net.

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