I, for one, am nearly ecstatic about this extended Autumn we’ve been enjoying. I know, I know, hunters are probably starting to get tense.
Professional and amateur climate-watchers in Pennsylvania are most likely lamenting that we need the cold weather for this ecological and that conservation issue that I have no need to overly concern myself with. But for a regular Karen who loves Fall the best of all the seasons, I’m happy as a clam with this weather.
Officially Autumn, which most of us around here call Fall, begins around September and ends with the winter solstice in December. However, the temperate feel of this transition season, which is also known as sweater-weather, customarily ends long before Christmas when jacket-weather has given way to coat, scarf, hat, and glove-weather.
So, that we are beginning November with highs near seventy degrees, is a bit remarkable. I’m not complaining. Autumn, it seems is the favorite season of many. We aren’t unhappy that due to climate-change or whatever, the season seems to be longer than usual, which is of course a relative concept. My heating-oil budget is also grateful for this extended temperate weather.
Fall, so named from the phrase, “the fall of the leaf,” has been more commonly used to denote the season in the U.S. since the 1800s. Deciduous trees shed their leaves this time of year in a vast area of the Northern Hemisphere.
Fall’s seasonal counterpart, Spring, is so named from the phrase, “the spring of the leaf.” Come Spring, everything is blossoming and springing back to life after a long winter’s nap.
Most of us remember daylight saving time’s rules from the saying, “fall back, spring forward.” It seems to me I read a while back that the House of Representatives passed a bill to banish daylight saving time, but it fell dead in the Senate as some state in the northwest couldn’t cope. Right when I had hope that there might be more chances to walk outdoors in the winter, before dark, at 5 p.m.!
If your curious which name came first, as in the chicken or egg conundrum, it seems that the word Autumn was used in the 1300s, and the word, Fall was used commonly by the 1500s. An even earlier name for the season, is “harvest.”
In fact, my favorite greeting for the season, displayed on our front door, is Happy Harvest. Many people in these parts celebrate harvest with the familiar display of corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins, gourds, fall berries and vines, and leaves.
Leaves of every color and hue are everywhere this season. Leaves are controversial – imagine that. Some say leave the leaves lie, to house all manner of organism over the winter. Others of a more fastidious nature, wish that every single leaf were picked up and disposed of. Our household lies somewhere in the middle of the controversy, having nearly every manner of tree, deciduous as well as coniferous, somewhere on our property.
Leaves are a public phenomenon. Leaves blow from one property to another. They litter woodland paths. Wet by dew, leaves become a slippery surface on pavement. They also color the season with the warmest of glows.
Leaves are the reason for the season, in my book; and the smell of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, gingerbread, and all that stuff. Hot tea and hot chocolate are drinks de rigueur of Fall; even hot apple cider.
I grew up jumping into massive piles of dead and dying leaves. Don’t tell me I’m too old to jump into a pile of leaves. Tell me I’m too wise to do so. I’m not as young as I feel or look, I’m as old as I think and behave.