Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n20)
Right in my Own Backyard - Season #3 - by Brandt Carter
posted: Sept. 29, 2017
We are now in our third season and I am exploring why this season has several quirks all its own. Have you ever thought of why we say wintertime, springtime, and summertime? Where is our "autumntime" or "falltime?" We do refer to the third season as harvest time, but not as commonly as "autumn or fall - time". So why does this season also have several names and the other three seasons don't?
Autumn officially began on the autumnal equinox September 22nd at 4:02EDT this year. It is the mirror of the spring equinox occurring on March 21. The equinoxes are the only two points during the year where the sun is directly over the equator. These two days are the only ones where the whole earth receives exactly the same amount of daytime and nighttime.
If you research fall as a topic, you will learn that spring and fall are not as old in records and literature as winter and summer. It may be that the changing seasons varied and the original two seasons referred more to hot and cold times of the year. Fall's inclusion of the months has also varied. In days of old, it could vary from August to November or September to December.
If you call this time Harvest, you are more influenced by the German traditions. The British influenced the naming of the seasons as fall or autumn, with the former being the older term. But most agree that season number three begins with the autumnal equinox and ends with the winter solstice.
Whatever you call it, this time of year holds great beauty and change. The landscapes abound with color: reds, golds, oranges, and browns. Crops and gardens give a final boost of produce with seasonal items: apples, squashes, pumpkins, and persimmons. Celebrations of the last warm days of the year abound from fairs to concerts and markets. It is like the last hoorah before cold and snow appear. Holidays punctuate this time: from the Jewish holiday of Succoth or Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacle to Halloween, and then Thanksgiving. This is a season for celebrating bounty and blessings. We even decorate with the abundance that nature has provided: Indian corn, bittersweet, colored leaves, pumpkins, gourds, mums, and asters.
In turn, it is also the season for preparation. The leaves are falling, the birds are migrating to warmer climates, and backyard and forest animals are storing up food for the winter. We spend time raking, putting our yards in order, and preparing the house for inclement weather: weather stripping, storm windows, and furnace maintenance. We are also preparing for end-of-year holidays and activities. With all this bustle of preparation and doing, take the time to enjoy the crisp evenings and warm days of fall. Eat just one more caramel apple or slice of pumpkin pie. Make time to enjoy the color and the crunch of falling leaves. Rekindle the campfire and enjoy hot (proofed) cider around a fire pit. Whatever you call season 3, autumn, fall or harvest, I am wishing you all a great season when the harvest moon shines upon you.