Perhaps someday in the distant future there will be an investigation into how it all happened. Historians and sociologists will sift through mountains of data, conflicting theories will be put forth, and conferences filled with experts will be convened to discuss the unprecedented cultural and retail phenomenon.

I’m speaking, of course, about how pumpkin spice took over autumn.

One might be tempted to blame Starbucks, where pumpkin spice lattes will account for more than $100 million in sales this fall. But that would not account for the thousands of pumpkin spice products that are now available, including all kinds of food products, articles of clothing, books with a pumpkin spice theme, mugs and kitchenware, ad nauseum. I even saw a can of pumpkin spice themed car detailing wax.  (No, I don’t understand that one at all.)

To be truthful, there is only one thing (besides all those extra calories) about the pumpkin spice phenomenon that concerns me: it has commandeered this beautiful season.

I love the fall in Maryland. I love the crisp air, the new crop of apples, and bringing out the sweaters that have been tucked away during the warmer months. I love fires in the fireplace and quiet evenings with my family. I love the return of football (and hockey), especially since the Nats are out of contention.

There is so much to love about fall: don’t let pumpkin spice pre-empt it. Enjoy that latte, but don’t let it become an obsession that obscures the rest of the season. Take time to feel the first chill of autumn. Watch as the leaves fall, and think about how life is constantly changing. Look up at the night sky—maybe on one of those nights when the moon is nearly absent and you can really see the Milky Way. Go looking for one of those heirloom apples that only grow here.

The phrase “pay attention” is mentioned in some form in nearly 500 places in the Scriptures. So when you order that pumpkin spice infused beverage or pastry or snack, take a minute to do just that: pay attention! Enjoy every gift! Think about how the world is once again remaking itself in the activities of the fall. And be grateful for every bit of it!