Fall back! Autumn is here!
By Edith Morgan
“Fall” is such a multipurpose word, but perhaps at least some of its several dozen meanings apply to this season. I personally prefer to call it “Autumn” – that has a more defining and descriptive ring to it.
Most of the birds have by this time migrated, and those that remain are already at my feeders, making sure that the feeders will be full every day. It has really been too warm (72 degrees on November 3rd!!) for hibernation – the squirrels are still active, and the air feels more like summer.
On the 5th, we will go back to daylight saving time – and catch an extra hour of sleep. (Does this mean that now the adolescents who need an extra hour of sleep to perform better in school, will improve their morning performances?)
But mostly autumn means we gather the leaves, cut down the yellowed growth of the lilies, glads and other garden plants, empty the rain barrel, and prepare the lawn for its long winter sleep.
The grass will get a final feeding and, once the snow arrives, a sprinkling of seed on the snow, to melt down in and fill in empty spaces where weeds might pop up in the spring. This year the city will sweep our streets last, so all the leaves will have fallen from the trees, and all we need to worry about is an early snow.
And, of course, this is the time of year we vote – this year for our local representatives. Usually the turnout is shamefully low, despite the fact that our city councilors and our school committee members have jurisdiction over the things that affect our lives daily and directly!
Autumn is a time of endings: the end of our growing season, the end of mild weather before the winter comes, the end of flowers and vegetables in the garden.
It is also the time for the last hurrah of our maple trees, as their leaves glow in the sunshine, bright red, orange, yellow and finally brown. Some plants reserve their most magnificent display for now: day by day we watch our neighbors’ flame bush grow more red, until now all its leaves are cherry red. Soon only the stately pines will be green and unchanging. It is almost as if nature puts on a final great burst of magnificent color, and then goes silent.
For us, this is a good time for reflection: we will be indoors and at home more. That means more time for reading and thinking, as we edge into the year’s end. It’s a chance to “batten down the hatches” and be ready for winter.
Above all, this is the season of Thanksgiving – a time to look back and be grateful for all that we have, for all the good things we have experienced in the past year … . So, let’s celebrate and be grateful. And share what we have.