When I was younger, fall was heralded by the long Labor Day weekend. School started the following Tuesday and regardless of the calendar, that meant fall had arrived – at least to me.
Now, call me certifiable (and some have), but I love all four seasons we so richly enjoy in Ohio. Each for different reasons of course, though autumn is a particular favorite of mine.
As I’ve grown older, the signs of fall’s arrival are quite different from my childhood recall of school supplies on sale and the Labor Day weekend. It’s a good thing, too, because school supplies go on sale around the 4th of July and most schools start in August. Which (according to both DQ and me) is smack in the middle of summer. However fall does have its signals and they are wonderful.
First I notice that the barn swallows who have been my faithful, if a little frightening, companions while mowing are no longer around. They’ve been replaced by butterflies – hundreds of them – yellow, white, and monarchs all fluttering around the mower. Often I pause to watch two or three of them do a special dance. When the birds are absent and the butterflies dance around me, then I know fall is surely coming.
Secondly, the buckeyes are down. Buckeye trees shed their leaves early, still in summer, and by the start of autumn they’ve also shed their precious nuts. No buckeye can be found by man or squirrel in our thicket. It seems odd to me, but when we have a wet, humid summer (as we did this year), the harvest of buckeyes is slim. We got only about 30. Summers when it’s so hot and dry that we pray for rain, the buckeyes are plentiful. A couple summers ago, our lawns were brown by June 22nd and stayed that way. That year, we picked up over two hundred buckeyes! There were so many, even the squirrels stopped fighting us for them.
Before the leaves start to fully turn and the grass stops growing, there’s another sign that autumn is almost upon us. We start getting all four seasons in one day. When I get up, I have to turn on the furnace for a few minutes to take the chill away. Then it’s cool and crisp in the morning, but too wet to garden or mow. By afternoon, I’m in shorts and a t-shirt, sweating over my lawn. By evening, we are sitting on the patio in our sweatshirts, enjoying a pit fire and apple cider.
Buckeye (the team, not the tree) shirts and caps are everywhere. Football officially starts in August, but when the Big 10 teams begin playing each other – fall is officially here.
I love fall. Campfires, ‘smores, apple cider, pumpkins, football, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and harvest. Waking up under a couple of cozy blankets to the faint hum of combines in the fields. These are the wonders of autumn.
I know Sarah Noelle agrees with. How about you? Love the fall? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.