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Natively Elegiac, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:28am

So it’s fall. Here’s what I just read online.

The 2012 September equinox comes on September 22, at 9:49 a.m. CDT (14:49 Universal Time)

We are all more precise, these days. @Kcecelia tweeted the season’s arrival,  here. She’s in my time zone. That means 40 minutes ago summer took its leave.

I wonder if people separate along seasonal fault lines? Some love the transitional. Fall, spring. Others the committed tenacity of summer and winter.

I’m in the second camp. Bring on the eternal summer days of blue skies and California sun. Bring on the weeks of rain and greening hills come winter. Even in East Coast winters, faced with snow and winds that nearly tore me from the streets, I put on a hat and ventured out on cold adventures.

But the transition of one season to the next, and those short seasons that never settle in, they pain me a bit. Even East Coast fall and its glories I never mind what I’m facing, so much as what I might lose.  I feel fall mourns summer, spring longs for it. While winter feels, misguidedly of course, triumphant, summer knows the point of everything.

I’m sure this summer-centric belief system comes from living most of my life in Northern California. Our summer is even better than East Coast fall.  Better, paradoxically, because it’s less exquisite. Just day after day of trusting warmth and clear skies. I think everyone may have a geography that mirrors our temperament; as a native optimist, here is mine.

I gather more people love fall and spring best. So I’ll listen to your chirps and chirrups of happiness, I’ll practice forbearance in the face of those who insist on calling the flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon, “Pumpkin.” I’ll wait patiently for the rains to begin. I bought a great new Sturdy pair of rain boots for my son’s graduation in New Jersey, where it pours stubbornly in the summertime. Clearly they didn’t get the California weather manual.

I’ll wait for puddles and cheer when they arrive. Or, as these two blindingly adorable toddlers say, “Puddoos.”

Have a wonderful, cheerful, autumnal weekend. I’d never wish my quirky melancholies on anyone else.


36 Responses

  1. When I tell people that my least favourite season is spring, they look at me askance and tend to back away slightly, as if fearful of catching something. But I really dislike the promise spring seems to hold out and never delivers on. It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s windy and raw. Yet tulips and daffodils bloom and others wax poetic. Not me.

    Love the boots. Hope they make your autumn better.

    1. Lorrie, yes, yes, yes! I just had this conversation yesterday. The light in autumn is so soft and friendly. This is the season for cooking, listening to the radio in the kitchen and watching how it gets dark outside. Plums, pumpkins, potatoes, red beet – autumn in the pot is heavenly.
      But I might add that September is usually quite dry in Austria. July/August are the rainy season around here.

  2. Lisa, what is not to like about cinnamon, pumpkins and gloves?
    Today at the supermarket I wanted to buy a 2-pound-bag of almonds, for baking.
    Only to find out the christmas-baking-season has not started yet in the stores. Seems I am really ready for the next seasons to come!
    I spend long evenings in the kitchen in this season, now that it is pleasant to feel some warmth coming from the stove.
    And isn’t it nice to hug without sweating?

  3. Autumn is my favorite time of year: the smoky smell, the crisp, cool air, the liquid, slanting light all entrance me. Thank you for mentioning me in your Saturday post. As you know, I’m an admiring devotee of all of your Saturday musings. xo.

  4. Love, love, love this post. You’ve captured my feelings exactly with the poetic grace I never could have mustered. You are so gifted with your thoughts and words, missy. I love spending Saturday mornings with you. Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. I’m a spring person, because my system is very perceptive of the changes in daylight. Literally at that darkest hour in December, I can feel the days start to get longer, even if it’s only by a minute, and it starts to lift my spirits. Can’t really say no to that.

  6. A timely post ;). It is fall or autumn. It´s dark outside.
    I wish we had only three seasons. A loong autumn, a short spring and a normal summer ( normal = sunny ).
    Sadly we will never have only the three. There is that awful winter in between.
    I guess autumn is my favorite season, once again wishing it to be a loong one!

  7. Autumn is the season I met and fell in love with my husband so it’s always been a special time…
    I love making soups and stews and getting out the cashmere cardigans…
    Oh but I love and adore summer with it’s warmth and roses blooming in the garden.

    You’ll be able to jump with joy in puddles with those sturdy boots when the rain comes. What color are they?

  8. Summer is so terribly brutal where I live that I never mourn its passing. Even today, it is too warm to have lunch on the front porch of our farmhouse. Such a disappointment. We had no winter last year which was also sad.

    1. Yes. The past two summers in NY have been so uncomfortably hot, it’s almost a relief when they’re gone. I also like getting back to a regular schedule in the fall. The summer is fun, but I get frustrated between wanting to DO things (productive, adult, chore-oriented tasks) and wanting to go PLAY.

  9. So true! As a visiter only for a short time to the west coast, I can say only this: how fascinated I was at the early warmth of the sun come April until I realized how quickly the roadside green faded, presenting another new threat and rains that had me wondering how strong the footing was of the next house uphill; only to be replaced by hatred after slamming into the curb and blowing out a tire in an all out afternoon flood. Coming home to New England, I knew life would be hard. It’s obvious difficult. There would be hay to make and wood to cut and a job to get. No questions. Great post – HAPPY FALL!

  10. Growing up in a very moderate climate (just above the 49th, on Canada’s West Coast), I find that is still my preference. But while I always find fall elegiac, slightly mournful, I love spring which, here at lest, unwraps a new gift at least weekly from February through May. So to reconcile myself to fall’s losses, I’ve planted a garden that display’s fall’s gifts in sequence as well — berries, colourful leaves, and even blooms that waft fragrance and delicate colour into a November garden.
    And there’s nothing quite like the fragrance of woodsmoke and fallen leaves and, if one’s lucky in one’s neighbours, the smell of grapemash . . . .
    I hope your melancholy passes quickly — perhaps finding a decent puddle or two to test out those great boots might dispel it for you . . .

  11. Fall to me has always been a reminder to stop, let myself be overwhelmed by the present. When we finally do get a fall, that is. I can see your sunny optimism manifesting itself as a love of summer. Makes sense.

  12. Today I was up in San Francisco. Oh how glorious it was today. Glorious blue skies, sun so startling bright. I just want it to stay. I love the sun.

  13. Where is the old man winter of my eastern
    Long Island childhood? Where? Mufflers necessary because the cold bites lips, mouth,nose. The stars so bright you want the evening constitutional doubled.
    Earth frozen hard. And staying hard for 3 months.
    Please come back North winds-and scrub us humble.

  14. A Midwesterner born and bred, I have lived and loved a life of pure seasons. Until now. The Blizzard of Oz in ’11 followed by the continuing and brutal drought of’12 have made me want to go coastal. I prefer the Atlantic to the Pacific, however, so I am sampling sunny spots up and down the southeast coast. Recs welcome.

  15. Have to admit that I am an Autumn lover here Lisa! Which as good this year as I get two…! Just gone through Autumn and Winter in Melbourne and now I am in England am about to do the same… Lovely shiny boots – especially made for walking (in puddles)…. x

  16. Your outfit is just right for the weather here today,8c cold,raining Winter has arrived,no Summer maybe no Autumn! Ida

    1. Blogger, the platform that hosted my first blog efforts, is having troubles, and not linking to this WordPress platform. Also, anyone who subscribes by email is probably not getting their notifications. Here’s that old post: I’ll be working on getting this fixed. In the meantime, my apologies for the inconvenience.

  17. I love summer in New Zealand (although it does get a bit hot for a month there…). England’s summer this year was the worst in living memory and a week ago autumn came thumping down on us. No gradual decline in heat and light… suddenly it’s frikkin freezing and pouring with rain. And it’s got a long way to go in terms of getting colder and darker before the rise into the light again.

    England seems to change weather so quickly, I’m scrambling to keep my wardrobe up to the demands. I’ve got from t shirts and loafers to woolly jumpers (sweaters) and boots within a week. I can’t quite believe how quickly it changes so I don’t change quickly enough then freeze or boil (must mostly freeze) ‘cos I’ve underdressed for the temperature.

    Still, it’s an adventure. One of the reasons we came here was to experience proper seasons. New Zealand is subtropical so never gets that cold in the North Island (i.e. no snow, a little bit of frost sometimes).

  18. For me, September and October are the best 2 months of the year in New England. I love all the seasons (OK, I don’t love spring) but come mid September the sky and water are so blue, you can sleep without any mechanical air temperature assistance, you can ride a bike or hike or sail without dying of heat stroke.

    Me and early fall are total BFFs.

  19. So many friends love (capital L) fall, I’m just not there. Probably because here in the Midwest it heralds cold and snow, the gray and dingy days of winter. That’s also probably why spring is my favorite season, all of the promise to come. BTW, you look pretty darn cute in your autumnal apparel & boots!

  20. Autumn in Montréal brings the certainty that an entire people will soon huddle against harsh winter, so we stride about, kicking leaves and having a beer on a terrasse even if we have to wear earmuffs. It’s the best: the tinge of melancholy at twilight, the blaze of leaf colours on the mountain by midmorning city, the shimmery low golden light of late afternoon.

  21. I admit I love Autumn, always have. I met my husband as August was waning into September and the nights were already quite cool. I married in October. However, I think I would love summer if I could live somewhere it was I have finally accepted that I do not like heat, and I like humidity even less. I grew up in Texas, I lived in NY and now Tennessee, where the summers are hot and humid. I love Autumn because it signals a relief from those things.

    Perhaps I really need to find a place were summers rarely get over 80, or if they do, remain dry.

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