September 15, 2004

Autumn Lament or Ode?

Not at Aces Full of Links there ain’t.

For Chuck, the first wearing of the sweater heralds a season that metaphorically represents the decline toward death. I respectfully point out that while this is a traditional way to view the seasons in some parts of the world, I consider it a facile exercise in metaphor.

It helps that autumn is my favorite season, but I view the passing of the dog days in a more favorable light. Let me count the ways.

  1. Not as much sweating during hikes. Easier to adjust clothing for comfort with multi-layering.
  2. Mosquitoes and ticks days are numbered, taking EEE, West Nile Virus and Lyme disease with them.
  3. Halloween is on the way. Creepy movies tend to hit the theaters.
  4. Harvest time for a number of excellent vegetables. That often means people with gardens willing to give you cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, sweet corn… Yesterday Ryan and Sara presented me with two big bags of vegetables. (Thanks, guys!)
  5. Apples. Don’t make me explain it.
  6. New England Fall Foliage. World renowned.
  7. Fewer leaves on the trees means a stronger GPS signal in the woods.
  8. Cooler in the house means firing up the oven is a good thing, instead of a struggle against air conditioning.
  9. Curling up with a book or a game in front of the fireplace (especially appreciated at our house where a poorly-planned heating system can leave some rooms very cold.)
  10. Who doesn’t like Thanksgiving?
  11. Turning the AC off means opening the windows again and letting the fresh air in without letting the humid air in.
  12. Speaking of humid air, the drop in humidity improves your quality of life in a number of ways. Mold is less of a problem. Your books feel less mushy, and the pages don’t curl up.
  13. For people who like it, football. That ain’t me, but whatever.
  14. Driving to the Cape is suddenly much easier.
  15. The grass in the yard stops growing. That means I stop mowing.
  16. Clearer night sky, very often.

There are more. Anyone want to post any of their own reasons that waving goodbye to summer is not such a bad thing?

Posted by James at September 15, 2004 12:08 PM
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- Exercise outdoors during midday is much more bearable.

- Companies start hiring again as management returns from summer vacations.

- A renewed sense of optimism and determination that is directly related to my memories of the beginning of school year.

- The smell of wood fires coming from the chimneys of houses along a leafy street.

Posted by: Mike L. at September 15, 2004 12:29 PM

I agree with you wholeheartedly James. Fall is definately my favorite season. In fact summer is my least favorite. I despise weather above 80 degrees and any humidity at all. I also an not fond or air conditioning making sure I am uncomfortable for one reason or another from July through Aigust. Spring and Winter have their plusses. I can't really think of any for summer.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at September 15, 2004 12:35 PM

I get that renewed sense of optimism and determination too, Mike.

There are a lot of things I like about Fall - whether I am in MA or FL. But the crispening weather isn't among them. :-)

Posted by: at September 15, 2004 1:01 PM

Sorry, that was me.

Posted by: Julie at September 15, 2004 1:03 PM

For the record, I'm not trying to tell Chuck, or anyone, that they should like the cold weather. I happen to like the cooler weather, and for years Chuck and I have had discussions of rhte difference between "brisk" or "bracing" weather vs "frikin' cold." People have different perceptions of temperature.

However, I *celebrate* autumn's arrival, and so I want to encourage people to see the good in it.

And I think it's good for mood and state of mind to try to think of what there is to look forward to.

Perhaps in the spring, some of you folks can needle me about looking forward to summer. ;)

Posted by: James at September 15, 2004 1:22 PM

"Curling up with a book or a game in front of the fireplace"

YES! Add wine and cheese or scotch, if you wish. Nothing beats a nice fire.

I can't stand summer--sweaty, hot, hard to breathe in the humidity, everyone on the T smells bad, and on and on.

Fall _smells_ good. I like the smell of the sun-baked earth of late September. I love the smell of fallen leaves, which I always equate with going back to school, something I loved as a child. I was the weird kid who looked forward to a new school year.

Fall has possibilities. Along with the crisp air comes a sense of urgency. It's time to clean up from summer and get ready for the winter. One begins to feel the "nesting" instinct, the desire to settle in, to get warm and cozy. To buy more items from The Company Store ( like blankets and down comforters.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 15, 2004 2:16 PM

I like Fall. I've liked summer in SoCal, too. I'm near the coast so it hardly ever got too hot. And the humidity was low. I expect Fall here will be somewhat like Spring and winter almost like Fall, but with no leaf peeping :(

Posted by: briwei at September 15, 2004 6:14 PM

Thanks guys. There are things to be positive about in the cooler seasons... I have noted a certain joy in winter in the past.

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 15, 2004 10:11 PM

Nice poem, Chuck. And I finally get the Plastered Dragon, thanks to your drawing. I always pictured a plaster bust of a dragon.

Hey, I might be slow sometimes, but I get there eventually.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 16, 2004 1:17 PM

Wow talk about needing to be hit over the head with something! You didn't catch on when Abaquer was a lush? So anyway ... back in Abaquer's ayrie.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at September 16, 2004 4:28 PM
And I finally get the Plastered Dragon, thanks to your drawing
Wow, I would have thought that really obvious. But I guess I can see it, when spoken, Plastered Dragon sounds a lot like "plaster dragon".

But no, Abacquer is so named because he spends much of his time inebriated. In fact the "Inne of Ye Plastered Dragon" was once simply known as "Wayside Inne". Then one day during a harvest festival, a very young dragon circled the town overhead and alighted on the main road. People ran every which way, the town guard prepared for the worst, but the little dragon only wandered over to the beer trough and drank it dry before taking to the air again.

Over the years as the dragon aged, he returned for each festival and stayed longer each time, eventually striking up a friendship with the citizens and fairgoers. Ultimately people would come to the fair specifically to see the drunken dragon lurching about, absurdly engaging in festival activities, and ultimately passing out and sleeping it off on the town green. Abacquer's patronage helped make the Wayside Inne a place sought out by travellers from all over New Irth, and became renamed the Inne of the Plastered Dragon by common use.

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 16, 2004 6:07 PM

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