It's definitely fall in Paris. The light is less direct, the days are noticeably shorter, there's a chill in the air, the market is full of pumpkins, and the fellow selling roasted chestnuts has once again set up shop next to the subway entrance. And yes, while the leaves are turning and falling off the trees, there's something missing.
It took me awhile to put my finger on it because all the other signs of the season where there. No, it's not the jack o'lanterns. It's the vibrant reds of maples, the vivid yellow of tulip poplars, the orange of -- well I don't know, some tree whose leaves turn that wonderful shade of orange -- plus the wonderful sight of a hillside bathed in all those colors at once. Instead, in Paris and in the environs round about, the trees simply become brown and then bare. For all the complaining I did about raking leaves when I was a kid, I should be grateful. But for the moment, I'm dreaming of the Appalachian mountains or simply my DC neighborhood where the trees form a canopy over the street and the leaves sometimes cover the sidewalk like a crazy quilt. A cozy sweater and a bowl of steaming homemade soup will have to do.