I grew up loving summer above all other seasons. How could I not?  Summer meant running around the yard barefoot without a care in the world.  There were endless hours for swimming, reading, and making up stories.  We went on family camping trips where I rode horses, collected firewood, and rode my bike all day long.

Even when I grew a little older, summer was still magical. I got a job scooping ice cream…getting paid to hang out with friends and make vanilla cones for victorious little leaguers.  There was no school to get in the way of riding around with friends or laying out in the sun.

But lately, summer has lost some of its magic for me. At thirty-six with an office job, it has finally sunk in that I will never get the summer off again.  And with that huge advantage removed, the other seasons now have a chance to claim my heart.

For example, this weekend in Pittsburgh I got my first taste of autumn and it couldn’t be any sweeter. The weather cooled down in the evenings enough that I had to dig a sweatshirt out of the closet for the first time in month.  It felt so cozy to pull it on, and to sit on the back deck with a blanket around my shoulders.

The leaves are just starting to turn on a few trees. The cicadas are singing all through the day.  The dark is coming on a little earlier each night, and clinging to the morning a bit more.

I know it’s just a brief reprieve, and that we’ll have at least another blast of heat before summer lets go for good in late-September. But the weekend excited me for all that is to come in fall.

Unlike the dog days of summer, or the long nights of deep winter, the brilliant changing of the autumn leaves is over in a finger snap. You don’t want to miss it.

I’m looking forward to everything about fall this year: the brisk sweatshirt weather, the apple festivals, the pumpkin patches.  Football and the start of season three of Outlander.  Good movies coming back to the Cineplex (you all know how I feel about the comic book summer blockbusters).  New books out by Tess Gerristen and Sandra Brown.

And the clerk at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive through will finally stop asking me if I want an ice coffee and start asking if I want a Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

Yes, yes I do. Bring it on.