Fall is my favorite time of year. I don’t know if it’s the typically cooler temperatures or the change in the sunlight. Maybe it’s because fall colors are my favorite.

When I was growing up, I got excited by the start of school, seeing everyone after the summer break and wearing my new fall clothes. Yes, I was one of those dressed in the latest autumn sweater even though the temperature felt like summer. I know. Total school dork.

A San Francisco Bay Area fall meant clear skies (for a while at least) and an end to the summer fog. In Colorado, autumn was spectacular: the bright, clear blue skies and the changing golden aspen mixed with the darker pines. Although the maples planted in Southern California turn beautiful reds, golds and oranges, the weather can be hot!

Santa Ana winds often blow in the Southern California autumn, bringing hot, dry temperatures from the desert to the beaches. Sometimes it can be warmer in the fall than in the summer! I’ve read the winds could be named for the Santa Ana Canyon in Orange County where the winds are strong. They also could have been originally been called Santana winds or devil winds from the Spanish.

John Steinbeck said the autumn Santa Ana winds stir people up, and their minds linger on thoughts of murder. I was thinking of this when I wrote my first novel “A Grave in the Vegetable Garden” which opens in the fall with the smell of smoke in the air. The Santa Ana winds can be culprits in the wildfire season.

Someone once told me that moods can be related to the seasons, that we are born with an affinity for a certain season and a disaffection for another. This person claimed if we looked back on our lives, we would see that good things always happened for us in one season and bad things in another. I usually feel worse in the spring. I think that’s because of my allergies.

Jumping into piles of autumn leaves always looked like so much fun to me as a child; I’ve never done it. (I’ve raked leaves – not fun) Cheering on the football team, donning a thick sweater, dressing up for Halloween, watching the Great Pumpkin while snuggled next to first blazing fireplace logs of the season, are all fall favorites. I love the fall.

Until the Santa Ana winds pick up, the temperatures rise until it’s sticky hot; I’m sweating, I can’t sleep and I feel like I could murder.