Can you feel it?
Can you hear it?
Can you smell it?
Can you see it?
I love the changing of the season from summer to fall. Fall is a comforting time of the year for me. The days are more structured as we leave behind the lazy, hot humid days of summer. Even as a retiree I am on a schedule in the fall. Classes re-start at the Activity 55+ Centre. The ‘old guy’ resumes his weekly trip to be with the painting group and our grandchildren return to classes.
Mornings and evenings have a slight chill in the air while the day time temperatures still hover in the high 20’s sometimes pushing towards the 30 degree mark. A sweater and light jacket creep out of the closet and back into our wardrobe. This is the feel of fall.
Crickets chirp all day along with cicadas, still happy with the hot afternoons. Blue Jays, crows and geese create a chorus in the air; providing the sound that is heralding in the fall season.
Fall has its own perfume. Flowers begin to die off and the tree leaves have a musty, decaying smell. With the abundant rain the juicy grass adds another fragrance to the bouquet. A name for the perfume could be “fall compost”.
Subtle changes are happening in neighbourhoods. Fall clothing beckons from store windows. New styles and colours are produced to lure shoppers in to spend money
Like animals preparing to hibernate when fall slides into winter, people too are preparing to hunker down. Those with fireplaces and wood burning stoves stack the firewood they cut last year. Flower beds are cut back and spring bulbs are planted in anticipation of a colourful display in April and May.
While preparing for the changing season my Mom would not just clean windows but also get Dad to haul out the storm windows. These were the days before high efficiency windows. Mom would also change the curtains. The fall and winter curtains to be hung on the ten foot high windows were a lined, beige and green brocade, designed to stop what ever drafts made it past the storm windows. In spring these curtains would be replaced with filmy sheers to let all the light in for spring and summer.
Each fall triggers memories of taking our kids to the orchard to pick apples. Juicy apples were devoured in the orchard and in the car. Apples were the go to fruit for lunch bags and snacks for several weeks. Fragrant apple crisp and pie found their way to the table.
Fall was the time that Dad, Grandpa, uncles and cousins began planning for the deer hunting season. Grocery lists were made and the women prepared frozen chili, soups, stews and pies to make the trek into the hunting camp. I will always remember the large chub of bologna that Dad would buy. It would be cut into thick slices and fried with slabs of cheddar cheese by the hunters. This was not a health food diet.
The hunting camp was a favourite place for my parents to visit throughout the year. They would pick wild strawberries, raspberries, long-black berries and blue berries. It would usually take lots of back breaking work to accumulate any amount of berries but they loved to show off their bounty. One fall Dad was excited to discover a bog resplendent with cranberries. He invited us to come for the weekend and pick wild cranberries. It is a site that I will never forget. After traversing across a log spanning a stream we stepped onto the bog. It was necessary to keep moving your feet as they sink into the bog if you stand still. Terrified deer have died in bogs when they became confused and too tired to get off the bog.
Before my eyes I saw little, ruby red cranberries nestled in the moss like gems scattered across the bog. These cranberries when cooked tasted nothing like those bought in the grocery store and don’t even get me started on canned cranberries.
The expedition to the bog was not without incident. Crossing the log was a challenge for many. Mom slipped and fell into the stream; a stream which proved to be much deeper than expected. At one point only her eyes and the top of her hat was visible. Dad quickly retrieved her and an angry, wet Mom headed back to the camp to get dry; annoyed by the laughter coming from the bog.
Fall is nostalgic. Memories of the past year are reviewed as are those of years gone by.
We are blessed to live in a country that has four distinct seasons. As each season winds down we can look both backward and forward. The remembrances of the past season can be happy or not but by looking forward to the new season we can anticipate happy times.
I will sit on the deck wrapped in a warm blanket, clasping a hot up of tea and soak up the last rays of warm sunshine, while fall takes its rightful place in the calendar. Fall will always be my favourite season.