Signs that fall has arrived in central Texas:
(Ever used one of these? It's a foundational step for all sorts of apple-y desserts, or in this case, pioneer-esque dried apple rings. We used one all the time when I was growing up, after Apple Picking, and would often try to jump rope with the long, wet curling strings of apple peel. This is the way Yankee children try to go gently into that long dark night known as the New England Winter.)
Fall here does not entail raking giant piles of leaves to jump and frolic in (oh! the smell of fallen leaves!) or golden days of sharp, clean light that feel like biting into a crisp, tangy apple straight off the bough, followed by great dinnertime gusts that gather you in to hearth and home.
It does mean emerging from summertime hibernation to spend hours in the back yard, urges to forsake the daily lists to ramble in the woods somewhere, and trees dropping their burdens of pecans, acorns, browning foliage, as migrating butterflies swarm seemingly everywhere.
Around here, one token still remains, holding out on us like that last Macoun dangling out of reach. One sign that crisper days yet await us.
The Aspiring Professor still needs to get out The Sweater.