Signs of the season all around

Published 10:23 am Monday, October 29, 2018

Not too long ago, I heard that Buffalo Wild Wings will now be offering pumpkin spice chicken wings on their menu for a limited time. The official name of the wing sauce is “BBQ Pumpkin Ale” but the ever-popular pumpkin spice is listed as a main ingredient.

Plenty of foods and drinks tend to suddenly become “pumpkin spice” flavored this time of year. Last year, compiled a list of these supposedly delicious items, but I’m still a bit skeptical. Pumpkin spice Cheerios? Pumpkin spice Oreos? Pumpkin spice Chobani Greek yogurt? Pumpkin spice Jell-O? Pumpkin spice butter? Pumpkin spice marshmallows? Pumpkin spice coconut milk? It all apparently exists (but sometimes only as a limited edition, thank goodness.)

There are even pumpkin spice flavored dog treats!

Listen, I won’t judge you if you simply enjoy the taste of pumpkin spice. But do you really think your dog waits anxiously for October to roll around so he can have a seasonally-flavored treat??

It really does feel like pumpkin spice has now become synonymous with Fall. Once the pumpkin spice hits the shelves, it’s time for everyone to put away their short-sleeved wardrobe and sunscreen. Summer is over. The heat and humidity are already becoming a distant memory.

But there are plenty of other things which signal the start of the season too.

Fall has a distinctive smell to me: one of cotton defoliant and freshly dug peanuts. It’s a very heavy smell that sinks into your nose and stays there long after you’ve driven past the fields. Once those scents start wafting through the air, I know farmers are starting their hardest work of the year. Harvest season is busy, busy, busy. People work from sun up to long after sun down to get everything done. I think about all that hard work and am so grateful for it whenever I catch a whiff of those smells.

Holiday decorations and treats are another thing which lets everyone know that Fall has officially begun. Fake skulls and paper pumpkins start to adorn the shelves of the stores. Candy corn fills up plastic buckets (and our bellies). Tiny witches and vampires and ghouls guard the front doors to people’s houses, waiting for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. And then, in a flash, the Halloween decorations are replaced with the bright shiny colors of Christmas ones. It doesn’t matter that Christmas is still a few months away; it’s apparently never too early to celebrate the season.

It seems like no other season features houses as heavy decorated as this time of year. Maybe that’s because we like our houses to look as colorful and fun as the leaves on the trees. (But, honestly, we can’t outdo Mother Nature as a decorator no matter how hard we try.)

There was a moment just the other day, however, where I thought “ah yes, Fall has finally arrived.” I stepped out to the parking lot to head to lunch, and a breeze sent several dry leaves scuttling across the asphalt. I heard the very distinct sort of rustling sound the leaves made as they scraped the pavement past my feet. To me, that’s the sound of Fall itself. No other time of year is like that.

It was a very peaceful moment, encapsulating what I enjoy most about this season.

Lots of people love pumpkin spice, and that’s perfectly okay. But for me, that’s not what Fall is.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.