Autumn. Some of us call it Fall. And the latter name is believed to have originated not because of the fall of leaves from the trees, but because it is the season when the sun falls below the equator to spring back up again six months later.
In polar regions, it is the season of nightfall as local inhabitants prepare for the extended winter night. Indeed, the autumnal equinox at the Pole is the day when the sun falls below the horizon, not to return for six dark months.
And, if we define the period such that the equinox is at the mid-point (the solar seasons), the Fall season encompasses those days when the daylength is falling most rapidly, perceptibly so in the higher latitudes.
The Autumn can have so many different meanings. A time of harvest and abundance; a time of storing and saving for the long winter season ahead. A time of festivity and reunion.
Like every season, Autumn has its unique events and sights, sounds and smells. Here is my potpourri, a perspective biased by years in the Midwest US/central Canada, the Great Lakes region with a hint of Pacific Northwest Coast for added seasoning.
Jack Frost. Hallowe'en. The Great Pumpkin. Thanksgiving. Pilgrim fathers and Native rescuers. Homecoming and reunion. Indian Summer. Two, maybe three Indian Corn. Blackberry canes. Fall Back. The State Fair. The Ex. Oktoberfest. Cornucopia overflowing. Pickling, canning, drying...and nibbling as you work.
First days of school. New long crayons by the box. Unsharpened pencils. Book bags and new binders, packages of paper and pens. New friends and old ones back again. New books, new horizons. Remembering your seat and schedule. Finding that classroom.
Rookie call-ups. Playing out the string. Roger and Mickey, Mark and Sammy. The World Series, the Fall Classic. Why not the Cubs? Larsen's Perfect Game. Home runs: Mazeroski and Carter. Don't forget Fisk and Dent, Mr October and Yogi.
The kick-off. First and ten. The Big Game. Let's Go Blue. Touchdown! The Victors. A marching band echoing the school fight song from a jammed stadium. The Quarterback Club. The last round of 18. The Turkey Trot. Running through crispy fallen leaves.
Washing windows and hanging "storms." Stacking picnic tables and chairs. Rakes and snow shovels moving up in status in the garage. Winterizing the cabin. Draining the pipes. Pulling in the boats and docks. Rhythmic thwacks of ax through wood; mechanical buzz and whine of chain saws. Digging out skates and skis. Sowing winter wheat and ground cover. Mulching, pruning, planting bulbs. The last lawn mow -- hurray!
Packing summer clothes. Unpacking the winter ones. No whites after Labour Day. Shorts weather, jacket weather, sweater weather, great coat weather, then boots and parkas. Smell of moth balls and cedar chests. A cuddly warm sweater and thick warm socks.
The taste of hot cider and plain fried doughnuts. A turkey roasting through the afternoon. Hot apple pie. The hubbub of the Farmer s Market on a crisp Saturday morning. Combines inching their way across golden brown acreage. Large, round mums. Caramel apples on a stick.
The hazy, cloudless skies of Indian Summer. Leaves scurrying down the street before the wind. The cold shiver from an arctic blast. Indian Summer. The last warmth of the sun. Chilly mornings and glorious warm afternoons. The Harvest Moon. The Hunter's Moon. The Rainy Season. Dry corn stalks clattering in the wind. The touch of frost on grass and window pane. The smell of burning leaves.
Warm winds from the south, coat-tightener blasts from the north. Pleasant breeze, cooling wind, chilling gale. The edgy-ness of distant storms brewing. First ice on the pond, then the stream, then the lake and river. The first flurries of snow, the first white ground cover. Get the shovels ready!
A Vee of geese honking their goodbyes to the land. Birds flocking, numbering in the hundreds...then no longer seen. Wasps and bees drunkenly flitting from fallen fruit to fermented fallen fruit. Squirrels gathering their cache, scurrying from here to there to here. Crows, cardinals, jays and assorted little brown birds, lonely calls wondering where everyone went.
Snakes and frogs looking for a hole for slumber. Bears and foxes seeking dens. The groundhog burrowing a little deeper and not leaving a wake-up call for February 2nd. Rabbits and owls and weasels changing colour, adding white to their wardrobe. And after Labour Day!
Salmon running, struggling every precious inch upstream to breed. Lake fish diving deeper to the stable bottom waters. Caterpillars feasting on the last of the summer bounty before drifting into a transforming beauty sleep. Flies clustering in barns and attics, seeking the last warm spot away from the winds of winter.
But most of all, Autumn means colored leaves: a spectrum of shades between the green shades of summer and the dull browns of winter. Crimson, fiery red, maroon, ruddy orange, pure orange, yellow orange, soft yellows and bright yellows. Red maples, yellow birch, scarlet sycamores, aspen golds. Mottled leaves of several colours in transition. Each deciduous tree, each bush, strutting its own autumn wardrobe. Naked willows dancing in the wind. In their midst, the smug conifers stand. "Evergreen," they say to us, "ever green."
Ahhh, those bright autumn spells that bring out the most vivid of hues. Days so delightful you can almost taste the colour. And those cold, crisp nights when the air has its own special vintage to entice us back outdoors one last time. A bouquet matched in no other season aged in Northern realms and blended just right.
This is how I see and have seen Autumn over my half century of life. I hope such joy and beauty, such stability and changeability, surprises and rouutines, continue through my next fifty. I love a good season, watching it turn, engendering days of joy and days of melancholy. Sorry, must go. Adventure lurks outside my door.
Learn More From These Relevant Books Chosen by The Weather Doctor