I breathed deeply, allowing the oxygen to sink its icy fingers into my lungs. I exhaled, feeling the chill leave my core as warmth rushed out to take its place. Opening my mouth, I watched as billows of water vapor condensed. I was a dragon and autumn was the season in which my ability to throw watery flames commenced.

Don't lie to yourself, most of you probably thought the same thing when you were younger. In fact, some of you may still have the pretense of dragonhood cross your mind whenever you step outside during the cooler months.

I realize we all were suffering under a foot of snow only four months ago, but it's that time of year again. Yes, spring and summer are giving way to the "other" seasons that will most likely occupy two-thirds of 2013.

I haven't checked the Farmer's Almanac though, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Taking into consideration that we had a 60-degree temperature swing in just a week, I wouldn't be surprised if a brain-melting heat wave would strike the week before Thanksgiving. I hope not, because it would ruin what is, to me, the best season of the year.

I love all seasons for their unique qualities, but in my experience, autumn is a season that seems to transcend simple enjoyment. To me, autumn isn't a season, but a state of mind only fully attained during September through early December. Let me explain why before you write this off as a mystical rant.

Autumn was the last season I ever experienced during my first year of life. Having been born during the winter, autumn was the season that brought my year's worth of experiences full circle.

Whether I comprehended that unconsciously as a young boy or just made it up on the spot right now, autumn could have been a catalyst for increased reflection on the year that was. I have many memories of myself exploring the neighboring woods all while thinking upon topics pertaining to the big questions in life. All the poison sumac and ivy had died; giving me increased freedom in my exploration. More adventures in nature equaled increased intellectual capacity to critically think. Did you catch that kids?

Autumn also signaled the beginning of school, which I always looked forward to with great anxiety. In fact, I feel slightly out of place at this point in my life, because it is the first time in 14 years in which I did not return to school in some capacity. Autumn always equaled school and I loved it. I disliked not being able to get sleep the night before because I was so excited, but when the cheesewagon pulled up, I was always ready. I was ready to squeeze myself close to the window, pull out the latest book I was reading, and quickly become oblivious to all the chaos surrounding me.

I was ready to make that awkward half-step, half-leap from the bus and land in the playground where I would go meet up with friends. We didn't play before school. It was too early. Instead, I anticipated the stories we would read, spelling tests we would take, and math problems we would pore over. It would be a really good day if we went to the library or the gym to play a game titled "mission impossible." The memories all come flooding back during autumn.

Autumn also meant alternating time spent on weekends between raking pine needles, watching college or pro football, listening to the Twins, or playing catch in the front yard. It was during the autumn that I had developed a love for the atmosphere surrounding college football. After watching a game, my brother and I would don our sweaters and stocking caps and play catch while still hyped on collegiate swagger. We could hear the crowd roaring for us, the sounds of thousands of fans and a marching band continuing to reverberate through our minds as we made unspectacular dives and catches. Then, with our faces red and chilled, we would heed the dinner bell. My brother would always be standing nearest the house, so he beat me every time. Holding our faces close to the hotdish, the cold would ebb. My perception of warmth would expand.

I have a hypothesis as to why my memories are more vivid and experiences more refreshing in autumn. It's the cold air. Its bite is piercing, yet I have possibly associated more memories with it than any other weather-related experience. Overall, I can't explain psychologically why I feel autumn holds more meaning in my life than the other months, but it does.

I felt the same way during the first few days of September last week when temperatures fell. It wasn't exactly autumn, but it was the harbinger of it. Though it means winter is coming, I have too many reasons and an overactive nostalgia to complain about the advent of autumn.