I've already written about the coming of the Pumpkin Spice Apocalypse. About a week after Labor Day, the sky turns orange as the lattes, muffins and candles take over the world. The first wave of pumpkiny goodness has passed, which means everywhere you turn online, the Hoodie Lovers and Scarf Aficionados are rearing their woolen-cap-covered heads.
These Facebook quippers are the latest signifiers of the end times: that time being winter. Like soothsayers telling of the gray, slushy days ahead, they go on about how happy they are to be able to wear sweatshirts and knitted scarves. Also, the boot people are stomping about how chic snug boots almost make them forget the fact that in roughly six weeks, we will all wish we were far, far away from Ohio. But I can't forget.
I like boots. I like scarves. Pfft, I've even been known to huddle down inside my Youngstown State sweatshirt. Fall isn't half bad, and Indian summer is pure splendor. But my loathing for winter is well known, and while there's nothing wrong with looking on the bright, woolen, comfy side of things, we do not need to be tempting fate, much less accepting or - gasp - celebrating it.
The pumpkin latte is still half empty for me - instead of being happy to break out fashionable boots, I am still mourning the banishment of my open-toe sandals to the back of the closet for the next eight months. Maybe around Thanksgiving I can read devotionals from the Hoodie Mob without feeling like they are coming after me with torches, bringing gray skies and freezing rain with them.
While you can't exactly run barefoot through a grassy field anymore, the Valley still has plenty to offer in terms of scenery, activity and fashion to help ease the transition into hoodie weather.
For example, the foliage. There's nothing wrong with being a leafer, or one who oohs and aahs at the colored splendor of trees during a country drive or hike. There is this road I always try to drive down when the leaves are at their peak. Take Warner Road off Warren Sharon Road near Vienna, and drive past Five Points Hartford Road. (This is a notable locale in itself, the Five Points/Warner/King Graves intersection being one of the supposed haunted spots in the area where high school kids go on Halloween to freak themselves out).
Eventually, there's a bend in the road and a single-lane bridge. Right when you come around the bend, the leaves really pop. I always wish I had a convertible when the sun comes shining through the gold canopy. It seems like everything changes to slow motion, as the red and gold leaves spiral to the ground. The next sunny day, I'm there, a relaxing song queued up on my iPod.
Mill Creek Park is another respite from winter anxiety. The Cinderella bridge always looks amazing through the colored trees - just watch out for all the photographers. Take a walk over the covered bridge, or sit on the dock at Lake Newport and watch the ducks.
You never really need an excuse to get White House Fruit Farm doughnuts, but they have caramel apple and pumpkin creme now, as if blueberry wasn't tempting enough, so yeah. Don't shoot the messenger.
There's still plenty of four-wheeling to be had. Temps are high enough for games of touch football, or rugby if you need more blood in your diet. I hope to get my kayak out one more time before Lake Milton and Mosquito Lake freeze over. Pick up a golf game. Have a bonfire. Playoff action is around the corner, so in true Valley fashion, go support your local high school team and enjoy some booster hot dogs and cocoa.
Though I saw a bell ringer at the Eastwood Mall today (it's always a good time to give, winter or not), it's not a Kraynak's time of year just yet. No matter how good boots look in the leaves.
What's your last hurrah before winter? Share it with me at ssepanek@
tribtoday.com, or comment on this story at www.tribtoday.com.