I have an addiction. To pumpkins. Only in the fall and only for real, whole pumpkins. It’s September 30, 95degrees, and I already have 17 pumpkins.
Growing up, I hated Fall- the darkening days and limited playtime, the return to school and weekly regimented prime time television. I would open all the drapes, even though my mom wanted them closed since I was alone as a latchkey kid. I would cling to the last of the light, sit on the porch in the brisk wind, holding on to some strange feeling that turned to sadness once it got dark.
Somewhere in my mid-teens I was diagnosed with SAD- seasonal affective disorder- but by then I was already desperately filling my afternoons with school activities so I wouldn’t be alone and feel so depressed. I had filled my tiny apartment bedroom with 5 different bright light sources and set my alarm for dawn so I could run outside before school.
Now, in my early 30’s with my mom, husband and 3 little kids, I have come to embrace the desert fall. I still sit outside and cling to the last of the light, but I surround myself with the sights and tastes of Autumn. I have built multiple outdoor living spaces for different weather, and serve meals outside as often as I can. It makes a difference. $200/yr in pumpkins and pretty lights is money well spent for my mental health.