"Fall and spring are the best seasons. They both have the right kind of rains - big, thrilling thunderstorms and gentle rains in which you can go out in - and they both have 'sweater' weather, the kind of weather you can wear sweaters in. In the summer it's too hot and in the winter it's too cold. . . .
"The man who cuts his lawn every day has a beautiful lawn until fall. Then, while most of the grass is still green, his lawn becomes yellow. There's a moral there somewhere."
--From my journal, 28 October 1974, age eleven.
"Summer feels as though it is packing its bags rather abruptly this season," says one of the local Maryland farms in its e-newsletter this week. Indeed. Thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, it's sixty degrees outside today. The rest of the week is warmer, but we won't make it much above eighty, and the temperature is going down to the sixties and high fifties at night.Photo source.
Back when I was a kid in the 1970s, this is what the arrival of fall meant to me:o--o--o
* Labor Day Festival: carnival, community booths, festival food (especially funnel cakes
), and the Labor Day parade.
* School opening again the day after Labor Day: new school supplies (three-ring binder, pencils, etc.), new teachers, new classmates.
* Leaves: scuffing through them, raking them, jumping on them, smelling them burn throughout the neighborhood.
* Crisp weather: warm clothes, evenings in front of the fireplace.
* Halloween: costumes, costume parade (I won an award at age eleven, when I made myself into a television), trick-or-treating, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
* Thanksgiving: parades on television, tons of good food, sometimes guests, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
* Books on all of the above because, like, I'm all about the books.From when my family lived in Michigan in the 1960s.o--o--o
And this is what fall means to me at age fifty-four:o--o--o
* Winter is Coming. Prepare for Pain.o--o--o
Fall was a whole lot more fun before I acquired these health issues.Photo source.
However, in an effort to put myself in the proper mood, I've compiled this list of end-of-summer and fall activities:o--o--o
* Finish up on my print reading for this year. My ability to read print is seasonal, due to severe dry eye; from this point forward, it will become more and more difficult to read print, so I'll be switching over gradually to reading entirely in electronic formats. A similar annual farewell to video-watching, though I'm going to make an effort to attend movies this fall at the newly re-opened Opera House
in Havre de Grace.
* This year's summer project was sorting my mother's papers. Supposedly. I did make a start at sorting my parents' photos, and I'll try to finish that up. After that, I'll switch back to decluttering larger objects. Joe and I agree that this is the month when we need to get all those boxes of donated goods to Goodwill.
* "Next week will be the last week for peaches," the fruit farmer told me at today's farmers market. We're nearing the end of the season for summer produce; soon we'll be eating autumn produce.
* I've already switched over to fall leisure clothes at home, though I'll still wear summer clothes outside on warm days.
* I do neither spring cleaning nor fall cleaning; I just try to keep up with the housework year-round. However, fall is when I launder the summer blankets and turn the mattress.
* Leaves? I mean, yes, there will be falling leaves, obviously, but I'd like to try to make it to Joe K's Trail
this fall, after tick season. I haven't walked along that trail yet.
* In place of Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, there should have been the Fish, Fowl, and Folk Festival in Havre de Grace today, but it rained. Never mind; there's plenty of fall festivals coming up in Havre de Grace.
* Halloween: We live in an apartment now, so we no longer get trick-or-treaters, alas. Doesn't mean we neglect the candy. And we live downtown, so we can go watch Havre de Grace's costume parade.
* Thanksgiving: The one time of the year that we try to go all out with a meal. I'll write more about that when it comes.
* Autumn decorations!(1) Dried corn on the door. (2) The Good Witch of the Northeast. (3) A horn of plenty that's, um, empty. (4) A cobweb to match the real cobwebs that I welcome in this house. (I like spiders. They catch bugs that would otherwise give me germs.) (5) Potato-print wrapping paper that I made in elementary school. I am not an artist.
Still to come is the miniature pumpkin I'll buy when those are for sale. I really miss the giant stalks of wheat I used to have but had to leave behind when we moved.
* Autumn books. Did I mention I'm all about the books?Clockwise from top left: (1) The Coming of the Pilgrims. "Told from Governor Bradford's Firsthand Account by E. Brooks Smith and Robert Meredith. Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher." (2) Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of Halloween Symbols, by Edna Barth. Illustrated by Ursula Arndt. (3) The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night: An Old Song, illustrated by Peter Spier. (4) Thanksgiving Day, by Gail Gibbons.
* It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
. Because some traditions never die.o--o--o
To celebrate the end of summer (because I only eat this during warm weather), below is a recipe for dairy-free chocolate pudding. It's really easy, because if it wasn't, I wouldn't make pudding.( Recipe: Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding )( Autumn history podcast episode )( Last fortnight's shopping list )( The rest of last fortnight's homemaking )( This week's meals )