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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Joys of Autumn


Beat 'em Bust 'em that's our custom! Hey, Hey, get rowdy! Hey, Hey, get rowdy!

White Stone Name Seeker has tagged me on this one. I was hoping someone would ask.

When does autumn begin for you?

As easy as this question sounds, it's not easy for me. Fall used to start for me right after Labor Day, when school opened, even though we still technically had a good 2 and a half weeks of summer. I didn't realize my birthday was still in summer until I was a good 14 or 15 when it suddenly sank in one day when I was looking at the calendar. Before I was 14 I spent my formative years in the Northeast. Penna, NH, and Virginia. Fall is a lot more subtle in southern California where I live in San Diego. I don't get the glorious technicolor of the leaves changing as I did in the northeast. And when I do see the few trees that change around here, I stare at them in appreciation. September can often be one of our hottest months, but suddenly about the 1st or 2nd week of October, a subtle shift happens, where yes, in fact you do need more than a sheet at night, and you've stopped using the fan, by and large. Daytime temps still get very pleasantly warm - it will get up to about 75F today (I don't do celsius, sorry) but down to 52F at night. It's the time where you have to worry about some people catching an early cold at work, due to the sudden shift in temps.)
Sunsets are often spectacular here in October. When the fogs start to roll in, the fall will be well and truly be here.

What is your favorite aspect of autumn?

Football season. I like pro football, but there's something about a good high school or college game that really permeates the soul. In my last two years of high school I attended nearly every school game. Also the baseball playoff season is marching to its finale. Mentally I consider September to be a fall month. It's fun to see the high school boys in particular sporting their letterman's jackets. I notice it's become the custom for the girls to not infrequently wear their sports letters on sweaters too. The "U" above is my high school sports letter. [I got mine for track and basketball.] I went to the University of San Diego High School - class of '74.

One game I always check up on is the annual Thanksgiving football game between Northampton high school and Catasauqua high school in Pennsylvania. This is one of the oldest high school continuous rivalries in the country still played on Thanksgiving Day. I still check the paper the next day to see who won. [Many relatives of mine played or rooted for Northampton -- the Konkrete Kids.]

It's fun to see that high school kids still put on their homecoming games and make floats and do all the traditional things. When my dad was still alive he and I always attended the local college games. I'm a sucker for marching bands and the music they play. I don't care if playing "Inna Goddavita" or "MacArthur Park" on the xylophone is a nutty idea. It still sounds wonderful to me. Another not to be missed is the annual Army vs. Navy game.

What is your favorite autumn memory?

I think when I was 11 or 12 I remember a Girl Scout trip we made to a cider mill. It would have been late October, early November. We'd had a very early snow in New Hampshire that year. There was still a bit of snow on the ground, and we went into the cider house, and they wrapped up the apples in sheeting and burlap. As the old fashioned press was employed, we held our cups up to catch the drippings of the freshly squeezed juice. It was the best cider I ever had or ever will have. So perfectly cold and fresh. The air was so sharp and biting, our noses chilled and our lungs filled with the ether of the mud beneath our boots - all very primal smells.

As a toss up, when I was a freshman in college, I'd gone out for the women's rowing team. One fine October day we'd been out on Mission Bay, and as the sun began to set we finished our workout. We pulled our 8 shells out of the water, and as we were working on the underside of the boats to dry them off, the sky turned a spectacular fantasy of red, orange, pink, yellow and gray while the sun backlit the clouds and cast a bedazzling cornucopia of shimmering light on the water. Wordless, we all stopped working and just stood there in amazement - no one spoke, as it would have ruined the chimera. We all stood there for a good five minutes in dead awe and silence. The light faded then we all silently finished the task at hand - no one remarked on the break in our labor, or what caused it - to break the skein would have been almost a sacrilege.

What do you like to drink in autumn?

Apple cider. Hands down. Preferably some I've gone up to Julian to fetch. [Julian is a small town in our back country that sits just above the 5 thousand foot level. They get a bit of snow in the winter if conditions are "just so."]

What is autumn weather like where you live?

Usually warm in the day, it can be quite cool at night. I try to avoid putting on the heat until mid. November at least, but sometimes I can't quite make it until then and have to give in a little early.

What color is autumn?

Where I live: too green!

What does autumn smell like?

Earthy.

Christmas shopping in autumn?

Given that winter doesn't technically come until Dec. 21st, you'd be in a heap of trouble if you waited that long! I don't start until after Thanksgiving though. And the hell with buying wrapping and stuff just after Christmas when it's on sale. I don't want that stuff kicking around my house all year, only not to be able to find it the next year when I need the stuff. Now that both parents are dead and as I have no immediate family, shopping isn't that big of a chore. I just get a few gifts for a few friends and aunts and uncles and don't really worry much about it.

If you could go anywhere in autumn where would you go?

The northeast. Just for a week anyway!

Do you have a favorite autumn chore?

NO! ;-D Other than shopping for Thanksgiving dinner or very occasionally carving a pumpkin. Don't know if you can really call those "chores" though.

What is your least favorite thing about autumn?

The dark. God, I hate when it gets dark early. Just put me on suicide watch when we "fall back" with the clocks. It gets dark early and I don't feel like doing ZIP. That's why I make myself get out and do things. I guess I try to attend theatre a little more in the fall -- just because I should or I'll get cabin fever. Some time ago I recall reading that during WWII for a time the British went on DOUBLE SUMMER TIME. My God - the clocks moved TWO glorious hours forward. [Well, yes, but there was all that bombing, the WAR, you know, Karen....but GOD the LIGHT, the LIGHT.] Maybe the only solution is to move to Australia for the winter.

What is your favorite autumn holiday?

Thanksgiving. No presents to buy. Just be thankful for what you've got. Everyone can celebrate, it doesn't matter whether you are a Hindu, just off the boat, or a Mayflower descendant. Your ancestors got the hell out of wherever they came from just so you could enjoy this day. Now shut up and pass the pumpkin pie, watch some football on TV and just be grateful that God smiled on your lucky backside to put you on this planet right here and right now. And kids, if uncle Ned asks you to pull his finger: humor him.

What is your favorite kind of pie?

Apple. And there also better be some pumpkin pie around in the fall too.

Do you have a favorite autumn book?

It's not really a fall book, per se. But Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN hits the spot. Everything is dying around you (well, unless you are in San Diego, and if it's a late fire season, everything may be BURNING around you) - but there's nothing like OUR TOWN to make you really try and look at things as they are and appreciate the extraordinary ordinary in life while you have it.

How about a favorite autumn poem?

October Gave a Party
I blogged about that for my first post in October, which you can see here.

[Right on cue -- just as I was finishing this post - a weatherbug alert came up for my area:
"DENSE FOG ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM PDT THIS MORNING

Event Start: 1:17AM PDT, Tuesday Oct 16, 2007
Event End: 9:00AM PDT, Tuesday Oct 16, 2007
Details"

Did I call that or WHAT?]

I was hoping somone would tag me to do this meme because it looked like a lot of fun - if you see this and want to do it, by all means, consider yourself TAGGED!
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1 comment:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Wow Karen..you sure worked hard on your post!

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