Musings on The First Day of Autumn

Late summer/Early Fall, Sunderland, MA


I wrote this on 9/23 and just now am posting it….yikes!

As many of you already know, autumn is hardly my favorite season. The days get exponentially shorter and colder, and my allergies flare up. The trees, which start out jewel-like, lose their luster and all but the heartiest chrysanthemums wither, taking summer’s last vestiges of color with them. Geese fly low in v’s that look as if they were written in the sky by a preschooler who’s just learning to hold a pencil. They squawk condescendingly, as if laughing at those of us who have no ability to escape the impending winter.

Lately, though, I’ve been trying to look at autumn differently and I think I’ve succeeded in finding little things to celebrate in my least favorite time of year. I’ve noticed that even  though the colors of summer disappeared with the last pints of strawberries and blueberries, there are still plenty of nature’s treasures to be found. As blessed as we are to live in a rural farming community, I try to notice how the harvests change with the seasons. In late summer, the shade-leaf tobacco  is harvested and hung upside down in the barns to cure. What amazes me is that tobacco doesn’t actually smell that bad in its natural state. It tinges the air with a half-sweet, half-pungent odor that belies the nasty cigars it will eventually become. Another gorgeous sight in the early autumn twilight is how all the fields are dotted with pumpkins, gourds and squash. The pumpkins are especially ubiquitous this time of year, polka dotting the landscape as they peek from beneath their vines while they grow bigger by the day. One of my most treasured visuals of autumn is that of the acorn squash that appears at farm stands this time of year. There is just something perfect about the shape and color of them that makes me see them as a work of art.

This time of year the corn has already grown to incredible heights, and the drying stalks give autumn a distinct soundtrack as they rustle in the breeze. I never realized how loud a cornfield can be until I went to a local corn maze last year. The stalks don’t whisper as much as they shout about autumn’s arrival. They only speak, though, if you are willing to listen. I am trying to open my ears and my heart to listening to their song. I’ll never rejoice when the days start getting shorter; I am a child of sunlight and warmth. My hairstylist tells me it’s because I’m a Leo, a fire sign, that I am passionate about spring and summer. I’m not sure I believe in that sort of stuff. I do believe, however, that a new perspective can open your eyes to wonders that you might have missed otherwise. May it be so with me and autumn.

2 thoughts on “Musings on The First Day of Autumn

  1. Jen, this is beautiful writing. I felt like I was standing there and observing and breathing all you were saying. You touched on the things I love about Autumn.

  2. Why thank you! I’m learning to at least *like* autumn:) I thought the photo went well with the essay. It’s one I took at the end of August just up the road from my apartment. I used to think I lived in the sticks, but I’ve learned to appreciate its beauty.

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