Sunday, 16 November 2008

Autumn, Fall, whatever. Still my favourite season

Going into Autumn is complex for me. It always was - the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" used to fill me with a desire to flee England's dismal shortening days for milder weather and above all, daylight. Living in California now means that I don't have to fear the coming winter, miss the light, bright days or plod around in wet-weather gear just in case it rains.

Now, it means the season of abundance at the Farmer's Market. We're just out of the best bit, with the piles of tomatoes and peppers, but apples are beginning, so just as I start to miss one crop, another comes along to excite and delight me. How can anyone not shop at the Market? All those Safeway shoppers don't know what they ar
e missing by buying their "fresh" produce in bags and boxes, shipped from God-knows-where and treated in dreadful ways that a man ought not wot of.

Now, of course, it saddens me because my Mum died last year, in late October. This year I'm also dealing with Christine's cancer and the grief that's attached to that. But it's not about to drag me South with the autumnal emigre birds.

A final note on autumn, for my many English or British friends who enquire after my dealings with "American English". "Fall", they say, "is an Americanism best done without. Use 'autumn'".

Sorry to tell you this, but the words fall and autumn are relatively new words, dating from the 17th century. Before that, the season was known as "Harvest", and both words were used alike in America and Britain (or at least, England), though in time, each country had its own preferences. In fairness though, most Americans know what "autumn" means, and few Brits fail to understand the "fall" season. Of the two, once again, the Brits are the ones who gripe most.

I still love you, Harvest season, by any name.

1 comment:

Alyce said...

In E. TN it is fall. The leaves are just now leaving the trees after a spectacular show of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns of the various trees. It's just now getting cooler with highs in the 50's. It's finally sunny after a week of damp, rainy, days.
Fall is my second favorite season after spring.