Let’s Talk about Fall

This week the Booklover’s Bench authors share their thoughts about the changes associated with the season of fall. We hope you’ll enjoy this group post. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter for a Tote Bag prize.

Emily Dickinson famously wrote, “There is a certain slant of light.” I recall her words quite often as summer moves into fall, for even when the dog days stretch long with heat and humidity, I sense the turning season in the way the light falls clear and rose-gold. There is a freshness to it, a rejuvenation, and I trust its promise that brisker days are indeed just around the corner. — Tina Whittle

Some of my Booklover’s Bench compatriots are born and breed southerners. Although I winter in Savannah, I am northern by birth, upbringing, and preferred temperatures. Even as far north as my Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there are still too many summer days whose temperatures exceed my comfort zone: it hits eighty and I’m talking about moving to Nunavut, Canada.

Autumn, is my favorite season. Mosquitoes and biting flies are gone. Daytime temps top out in the seventies (or sixties or fifties or forties or thirties), which means I can do anything outside without sweating buckets. The cool nighttime air provides great sleeping weather. If it drops below freezing, I’ll even move inside from my screened porch. And in late fall, when snows start to become a bit more serious, I pack up and head to Savannah where I get to experience autumn weather all over again! — James M. Jackson

Something smells different! Gone are the floral scents and the tantalizing aromas of fresh fruit. In their place, we have apples—baked into pies or warmed cups of cider with cinnamon sticks. Pumpkin spice, which has taken over everything! In some areas, you might encounter the smell of burning autumn leaves. Smoke from wood burning fireplaces swirls through to air as people try to chase away the chill in the air. And in my kitchen, light summer fare is replaced with the savory smells of stews and soups as they simmer. — Karla Brandenburg

Fall is probably my favorite season for decorating. It may be because my birthday lands around Thanksgiving. Or maybe it’s because the colors, deep reds and oranges, are favorites of mine. So I look forward to decorating our dining room table and bringing out the candles, even though it’s too hot in Florida for burning them until the cooler months.

September brings the Jewish New Year, so I put our holiday tablecloth on the table. We have blue candleholders and other ornamental items that make things festive. I use these items for Hanukkah later on, adding silver and blue tinsel for added sparkle.

October means Halloween. Out come the pumpkins, witches, scary spiders, and other fun tchotchkes. I like to fill a bowl with gourdes, mini-pumpkins, and small squashes for a table centerpiece. On our dining room table goes a gold-colored cloth for autumn along with gold tinsel for sparkle. Then I leave all this displayed for Thanksgiving except for taking away the spooky Halloween stuff. The warm reds and yellows and oranges reflect the warmth of family with whom we celebrate on these special occasions. –Nancy J. Cohen

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Fall wasn’t much more than time to go back to school. Our street was lined with sycamore trees, and although the leaves turned yellow, then brown, there was nothing particularly special about them, although as kids, we liked smooshing the seed balls.

After I married, we moved to Florida, which made Los Angeles’s minimal seasons look like major climate events. Florida has two seasons: summer and February 3rd.

When we retired and moved to the Colorado mountains, I discovered the reality of four seasons (and sometimes we have them all in the same day). Aspens are the mainstay of fall color, and although we don’t have the variety of trees found in the east, we can get some spectacular color. Why try to describe it? Cliché or not, pictures are worth thousands of words.  — Terry Odell

My children were fortunate grow up in a region where trees shed their leaves every winter. In late September and October, they loved raking up big piles of maple leaves. We’d all run and jump into the pile, showering each other with flying leaves. The earthy aroma drew us back time after time. We created many memories in those days of long shadows and jackets.

In October, we also enjoyed Pumpkin Patch visits with the kids. The children’s joy of seeing all the pumpkins big and small infected us. We always came away with a harvest of happy memories.

Back in my childhood, more people had gardens and fall was the season for canning. We’d sit on the porch for hours shelling peas, snapping beans, and husking corn. The grownups would come out and take our efforts inside to can for the winter. It was a busy, productive time, but it was also a family activity made lighter with many hands and conversation.

As the days shortened, my family enjoyed hot apple cider and hot chocolate, roasting marshmallows over a fire, and stick-to-your-ribs hearty stews. Is it any wonder I love the color palette of fall?
— Maggie Toussaint

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