Nature is the sort of free spirit that doesn’t pay much attention to the calendar.
So autumn chill and rain made their way to the Inland Northwest Sunday despite the official designation of today as the first day of fall.
Spokane residents did their best to cope, putting away the boating, hiking and cycling fun of the summer hot weather of the previous week and turning to home supply chains, kitchen stores and coffee shops for the tools of autumn.
“Everybody’s running in now and going, ‘Oh, no. Here we go,’ ” said Brad Beach, who works at the Ace Hardware store in Otis Orchards.
Beach said customers were looking for gear to winterize their boats and RVs. Others were buying pipe insulation and faucet covers.
It’s not just summer recreation that’s coming to an end. Summer produce must also be put up.
“A lot of people are doing a lot of canning right now,” he said.
With high temperatures in the 80s for much of last week, Sunday’s rain, wind and cold felt like a slap in the face.
Highs only hit the mid-50s and winds gusted up to 20 mph, blowing rain everywhere.
At the Chocolate Apothecary at the Flour Mill, gelato wasn’t the big seller anymore.
“It’s definitely been a hot chocolate day,” said store employee Karalee Bourquin.
Pie plates, soup pots, cookware and fall leaf-colored accessories were the order of the day next door at the Kitchen Engine.
Outside the store doors a chalkboard sign advertises, “Fall baking season has arrived.”
“When you think of the weather changing, you think of hearth and food and staying home,” said Sharon McHugo, who was shopping at the Kitchen Engine.
“Kids are back to school, and everybody’s back to cooking,” said Kitchen Engine owner Eric Frickle.
Frickle said the store is gearing up for two months of seasonal cooking classes featuring pumpkins and apples.
For some the change in weather seemed long overdue.
“The goldenrod was so late in blooming I wasn’t sure it was ever going to be fall,” said Kathleen Smith as she perused a display of autumnal plates and Thanksgiving decorations.
The cooler weather is expected to persist this week, with a high near 58 today. Although temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s by Wednesday, the days of tank top and sandal weather seem to have come to a close.
Time to pass over the discount bin of flip-flops and head over to the new crop of boots – all the better for kicking the October leaves.