You probably expected a post about Columbus or Indigenous Peoples Day. So many other
people will write about those subjects so I’m giving them a pass. I’d rather share the varied aspects of autumn I enjoy, even relish. So… autumn or fall, which do you call it? The Merriam-Webster newsletter I receive (yes, a dictionary newsletter) tells me that the British mostly call this season autumn, while in the U.S., mostly we call it fall. The falling leaf season led to the term and it stuck. But I digress.
All through September I resist the advancing seasons, still hoping for more summer. But by October, I find I enjoy many things about fall. Here are “a few of my favorite things…” Occasionally my husband and I take this holiday weekend to explore parts of Maine away from the coast, parts where the fall colors are more advanced. We pack up the car and drive north or west to places like Bald Mountain or Rangeley Lake, where we rent a cabin. Years ago it meant camping, but those days are over.
“The falling leaves drift by…” Let’s ignore the raking and clearing of leaves from gutters. Red maple leaves, round golden poplar leaves, bronze oak leave. I love seeing all the colors. And I must still have some of the little kid in me because I enjoy scuffing through the fallen leaves as I walk the dog. They crunch, they swish. Sasha enjoys the various smells instead. I’m thinking wild turkey and deer scents.
“’Tis the gift to be simple…” It’s the simple things that I enjoy in October. Like the purple and lilac wild asters this monarch butterfly checked out in my neighbor’s field. And that field full of milkweed, the pods bursting with seed fluff. The seeds float in the breeze propelled by their parachutes.
Alas, these past few years the milkweed plants have lacked a robust population of monarch butterflies. This is a sad phenomenon throughout North America due to a combination of factors. The population of monarchs has been declining for the past two decades. Changing farming practices have decreased habitat, suppressing the growth of milkweed—the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs. Deforestation in Mexican forests coupled with the conversion of grassland to farmland across the butterflies’ flyways in the U.S. has further threatened their existence. Ah, but that’s a downer, when I’m supposed to be upbeat today.
“I get misty, just…” Sorry. That was a stretch. I couldn’t find a song featuring geese. Yes, migrating Canada geese and ducks are all around. We woke one foggy morning at the lake to see these Canada geese gorging on grasses. There were about two dozen of them, honking and dipping.
“Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground…” I found this children’s song by Alison, sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and couldn’t resist. Yes, I love pumpkins, unadorned, decorated, and carved into jack-o’-lanterns. Pumpkins look so cheerful. Something about the chubby shape and the bright orange color. We used to grow two plants that yielded usually seven or eight biggish fruits for decorating the deck, but stopped growing them when we reduced the garden size. Pumpkin vines take up an enormous amount of space. Some people plant them next to their compost heap and let the vines trail out into the field.
“In an octopus’s garden in the shade…” With apologies to the Beatles, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are not under the sea, thank goodness. My final fave is a visit to those gardens in Boothbay. More pumpkins and more fall decorations, mostly all natural, than you could imagine. (And this year there are trolls hidden in the woods.) Here are some images before I go.
Anyone else have fall faves?
This was a treat, not a trick. Fall’s my favorite time of year, and it doesn’t last long enough to suit me. Sweater weather. Tea on the screened porch. An October sky. My birthday!
Sweater weather, yes, of course, and that clear blue sky. I’ll add them to my list. Happy BD again!
Hey, Susan. Love your fall pics. The pumpkins weren’t out at the Gardens when we went, still an amazing place and those Trolls! My goodness. It was so fun to get to see you. Loved our trip to the Marshall Light and the yummy food at the Thomaston Cafe. Can’t wait to return for that. LOL My daughter has a pumpkin plant in her gardent and I was amazed at how big the vine gets. I love everything about fall. Absolutely everything. I’m happiest this time of year. 🙂 Loved your post and I shared.
I always hope for a long and stately fall, not too cold, with a succession of fall flowers. My anemones followed by asters and then chrysanthemums. And one crisp day when there’s a frost in the night, all the rich golden leaves on my ginkgo tree fall at once.
Everything you’ve written there is a poem. Thanks, Kate.
Autumn in the County is special, and because we get fall first, it gives us the opportunity to spend weekends traveling downstate enjoying the leaf peeping. The first year we lived here we planted an acre of various veggies. Pumpkins included. As fall approached, my husband bemoaned not planting gourds. His father’s favorite autumn crop. Lo and behold, come October one of our pumpkin plants revealed itself as a gourd plant. There is a great pumpkin, Charlie Brown
I love that story about the gourd! Thanks so much.\
See the geese in chevron flight. A laughin’ and a racin’ on before the snow…Tom Rush.
I enjoy all the seasons, but fall is my favorite. The earthy smells, the crunch of leaves, the colors, and the harvest! Fog in the mornings or the bite of frost. Yup. It’s the most interesting season.
Love that Tom Rush quote! Yes, and the harvest and fog in the mornings. This fall is especially beautiful, I think. Thanks for the comment.