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I’ve not made it a secret that I have ambiguous feelings about fall. Tonight, however, I had to admit another fantastic aspect of fall: the sky. A hurricane is heading to New England and we have the most wicked looking clouds tonight in Michigan–several shades of gray, layered upon layer, moving at different speeds. The air was warm, but with the crisp scent of flowering weeds.

After the sun set and the kids were situated I turned on the TV and saw, horror of horrors, another key element of fall: football. Televised professional football.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I disdain football. I understand that it requires a keen mind to learn and apply the plays and a well-trained body to execute them. I see the pride it brings to young boys and the youth it brings back to old men to play the game. But, as soon as I begin to watch it or listen to its commentators, I feel myself slipping into a comatose state. I thought I understood the basics of the game, briefly, while my high school boyfriend was playing, but it’s alluded me ever since. One of the saddest aspects of football, however, is that, when the season ends, we’ll be well into winter.

At this time of night during the summer we would still have been outside playing, working, lollygagging. Instead, I’m forced to flip through the channels. Murder in some dark outdoor area on Dateline. Surprise. Reruns of sitcoms whose jokes are so outdated I’m no longer sure why they were funny. Ew, football again. And then, delight, Masterpiece Mystery. It’s the middle of the episode, which seems to be the second or third part of a multi-episode story, but they have British accents and they’re not lining up in obscure formations and ramming each other with helmets and padded shoulders. At least I can recognize the patterns of a procedural crime drama. Even without a score board and commentators.