Did you enjoy fall while it was here?
That’s it. Fall is officially over. If you missed it, it’s your own fault. You should have enjoyed the five days of fall while they were here.
Of course officially, fall begins with the autumnal equinox that was marked at 9:49 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.
If your astronomy skills are a little rusty, this annual event occurs when the hours of daytime and nighttime become equalized.
Night and day continue battling for dominance with nighttime always winning the tug-of-war until fall ends.
That’s supposed to happen on Dec. 21 when the winter solstice occurs. That’s the shortest day of the year — light-wise anyway — and it’s when the daytime begins to claw its way back to dominance.
Normally, that’s a pretty good amount of “fall,” though most folks start considering fall to end when the holiday season starts.
For Natchez fall ended sometime around Wednesday of last week, or least that’s when I noticed it.
Grabbing the basics of life — toothpaste, razor blades and toilet paper — on my way home Wednesday night, I was stunned by what I saw.
Just around the corner from the toothpaste aisle was evidence that fall had come and gone.
Rows of artificial Christmas trees beckoned fall consumers to turn their back on the orange leaves, pumpkins and hay bales of the season.
“Go ahead,” the plastic trees whispered. “Get into the Christmas spirit.”
The moment was disconcerting.
Once upon a time, understanding the seasons was simple.
Autumn led to Halloween, which led to Thanksgiving season, giving way eventually to Christmas.
The decorations followed the seasons in clear order — fall leaves, pumpkins, cornucopia, turkeys and then, and only then, the Christmas trees popped up.
All that began changing several years ago as national retailers realized that consumers weren’t all that jazzed by autumn — read retailers didn’t find the season all that profitable.
That retailer realization — let’s call it what is: greed — led to the holiday squeeze.
Since then, Christmas has begun coming earlier and earlier each year, thus this year’s five-day autumn.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly no Grinch.
I like Christmas as much as the next person, but good grief, Christmas trees in September? That just seems a little premature, and a little “off” particularly in Natchez.
Spider lilies signal the arrival of fall in Natchez.
Slightly lowered temperatures signal fall.
Hot-air balloons signal fall, but Christmas trees should stay hidden until at least the first of November.
If someone doesn’t stand up for the poor fall season, her rights will be trampled, all in the name of selling us more Christmas stuff.
Christmas isn’t about buying stuff — or it’s not supposed to be anyway — it’s about celebrating the birth of Christ.
His father gave us four seasons, each of which comes with unique blessings.
Of course, perhaps the crazy early Christmas retailing experience is supposed to shock us into remembering that Christmas isn’t about us or about our stuff, but about Him.
Message received, straight from the toothpaste aisle.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.