Sunday, September 19, 2021


September Afternoon

The summer wanes, the light in the late afternoon takes on a different hue as the sun sets in the west, it's more mellow, softer if you will. One of the things I like about where I live is that we sit up on a small hill so that the sunrises and sunsets are easily viewed.

I don't care for the wide vistas of the Plains, sure you can see what's coming, but it can see you as well. Perhaps having grown up in the woods I'm just more comfortable there. I "feel" the forest around me, I know what sounds normal and what might indicate danger in the area. It's something I'm used to, a setting I'm comfortable with.

I've lived out there on the Plains, you can see for miles. Frankly, I feel exposed out there. I need the shelter of the trees, the protection of the hills and mountains. Yes, there are hazards in both places. Tornados, though rare here they do occur, are far more prevalent out there on the Plains. Here you have the occasional hurricane to contend with, lots of wind, lots of rain, so far we've been lucky in that respect in the twenty-two years we've lived here, a couple of close calls, but nothing like the typhoons I experienced on Okinawa.

But autumn is special here, soon the leaves will start to turn, the colors can be intense, the hills alive with bright colors can take your breath away. The air smells different, it's hard to explain, but those who know, they know.

I went through a long period of not really caring for the fall season. Part of that was having played high school football for four years and then not playing any more. I missed it a great deal. But as the years passed, I began to love fall once more.

It's almost here, I can nearly smell it in the air. Yes, I know what follows but I enjoy winter. I know it sounds odd but I am like a little kid when it starts snowing. It's exciting, the world becomes bright and shiny.

I know, it gets cold too, but here in Little Rhody it's nothing like where I grew up. I've seen temperatures as low as -40° in Vermont. I've been outside in -30° weather, delivering newspapers. Mind you, that's without any wind chill. The smoke from the chimneys in the valley would rise straight up into the air. Just seeing that you knew that it was cold outside, you only referred to a thermometer to see what number was associated with the cold.

At -40° school would be cancelled, often you couldn't get the buses started anyway. Safer to just stay home. At -30° you just had to be careful, one day I came close to not taking Mother Nature seriously. Might have cost me a few toes if I hadn't recognized the signs and got indoors. It can kill you if you're not paying attention.

But for now I'll enjoy early fall, it's usually pretty mild here at this time of year. We may see a day in the mid to high 80s, but that's rare enough.

Today though, is magnificent, so I enjoy it. Let tomorrow worry about itself.

This weather makes me smile.


  1. T'each 'is own. I like my vistas, lots of room to breathe. Less need of tomahawks out here (not to disparage such, they're pretty cool).
    Boat Guy

    1. Having grown up in forest, it's tough, if not impossible, to feel comfortable in the wide open spaces.

  2. The colors of Fall are going to be muted here because of the drought earlier this summer, some trees are dropping green leaves already. Cooling off at night helps with sleeping along with lower humidity levels so this coming Wednesday...Hurrah!

  3. I looked at the photo of your sun dappled yard, headed for YouTube, and started up Grieg's "Morning Mood."

    Tomorrow will indeed take care of itself, but as for today, let's remember to talk like a pirate.

    Ahoy Mateys.

  4. What a beautiful day yesterday (Saturday) was, and today (Sunday) looks to be even nicer as the front came through last night and now there is no humidity and the temp is in the mid 50's. And, if Nylon12 is correct and drought mutes leaf color, we should have spectacular fall colors this year as we have certainly had more than enough rain. To the point to where I have only been able to mow the lawn once a month due to how much standing water there has been...and I am at the top of the hill, not in the valley. I am jealous of your lovely yard, and especially the neatly mowed lawn.

    When I was out in Michigan, western Michigan is very nice, but, very flat. Or at least it seemed so to me. Guess I am not a flat-lander either as I truly missed the hills and ridges of Upstate NY, much more than I would have ever thought. Growing up out in the country, one learns to love the forest, and to me, it is home.

    And, like you, I even enjoy winter. Ok, more so when I don't have to go out driving around in it, but it is pretty to watch the snow fall gently down, covering up everything with a white puffy blanket. Especially at night when I look out across the fields...everything is so light and bright. I decided a long time ago, when I was a sophemore in college, that I could never live in Florida. Had the opportunity to go to Disney World for a convention, went, had a great time, saw Sea World, managed to not get soaked...but the humidity was just killing me. Not something my lungs enjoyed at all. Not to mention the bugs and snakes can get pretty large down South. No thank you!!

    So, yes, Fall in the Great Northeast can be lovely, and so far, this year, it is shaping up very nicely.

    I am off to do the grocery shopping for my folks, spend some time with them, then come home and fire up the lawn mower!!

    1. I do have to admit that the 'boil-in-a-bag' level of humidity and the two-inch-long flying cockroaches are a tad putting off. But solutions exist, thanks to the saintly Willis Carrier and good old German chemical engineering.

      Though I do need to check the door seals, as last night one of those 2 inch jobs came walking across the computer screen. After quietly killing it, I quietly looked to see if any more were scooting around. Nope, just the one. Straight bee-line from front door to my computer. Bastard. He's dead now and more old-fashioned German chemical engineering will be put in place...

    2. Suz - I have great hopes for the foliage this year!

    3. Beans - I'm not a fan of either of those things, Florida is all yours. I might visit the place, but live there? Not in a million years.

  5. Sarge - Your backyard is beautiful. I admire people that have that kind of mind and care; I fear I fall much more into the "recreate the wilderness" practice, much to the despair of The Ravishing Mrs. TB.

    I have always preferred Autumn. Why perhaps, I do not fully know. In Old Home, we had (and still have) the very classic Mediterranean/Monsoon climate: dry and hot 50% of the year, cold and wet 50% of the year. Autumn was the breaking of that heat, and brought with it a variety of things: Marching band (no football for me; I fear I would have been crushed), local city fair, trips to fruit orchards (one of my favorite memories with my parents), and of course the long run-up to the holiday season. And we had trees that turned and leaves that fell and the evening smells of smoke amid the trees and foothills (technically mountains, but they are thus named). The rain always came (and comes) around the end of October; the rule of thumb is if the garden is not in by then it will rapidly be too muddy and cold to otherwise do so.

    In New Home, Summer is one long burning forge of the Sun's disdain for earth dwellers, followed by a very short period of time which is rather pleasant which is named "Autumn" only because it comes after Summer but before Winter (and is not really long enough to be a season), followed by the Ice Age of Winter - before again, a brief period of time named "Spring" before the concrete starts to smoke. There is no Autumn here formally: the trees are such that they do not shed their leaves, there are no mountains (what qualifies as a "mountain" or "hill" here is embarrassing to one who grew up amongst them), and there is no "coming" of the rain - the rain here can come at any time of the year.

    But in both places, there is a certain turn to the sunlight, something I could define for you other than to say it becomes longer and softer (as if one could analyze the visual light spectrum in such language), that says "Autumn" even if the weather has not yet been notified.

    Coming from Old Home and The Ranch this weekend, Autumn is already making its appearance, with a bit of much needed rain. Here in New Home, we continue to lie and act as if it were Summer and will be for another two months.

    1. Though autumn fell out of favor for a while (at least with me, and pardon the pun) I think it's now my favorite season.

    2. Sarge - I very much enjoy Winter with its rain and cold and reasons to stay inside and read and write, but for overall outdoor enjoyment, there is nothing like Autumn.

  6. Spent time in a few areas around the States: Finger Lakes New York, Eastern North Dakota (from which it was said you could see Montana on a good day), the northern part of valley Oregon, and the west coast of Florida. IMHO, nothing can beat the Finger Lakes in the fall and the winter for either the hunter or the artist.

  7. That slanting sun is lovely. But that backyard needs at least a 30x30 shop.

    I can relate to Nylon12, and New Home with TB. The heat here lasts for most of the year. We were in an August cycle this month, but this week is supposed to be the first of the recurring cold front, pleasant, hot up to 90's, cold front, pleasant, hot up to 90's that is fall for this part of Texas. Winter usually comes on a Tuesday, and lasts for 72 hours... Last Feb notwithstanding.

    I grew up on the high plains. It's very hard to see me when I squat (no spurs thank you) and remain still. It's always been interesting to me how we learn to adapt to the different areas we grew up in. How much the land molds us is in direct relation to how much time we spent in it. I reckon few younger folks now would know how to operate. Most seem to be tourists, just visiting if they go out at all. The free rangers that I imagine most of us stubfarts were, lived in it, learned it, and were shaped by it.

    I miss that country. Hot days, cool nights of summer. Droning irrigation engines running on natural gas, with that odd piquant exhaust smell and little puddles of heat around them. The sound of irrigation water running in the rows... The feel and smell of that rich dirt as you till it up for planting or cultivating... The howl of the wind through the wires, or bent trees, or the gap in the window.... Leaning into the wind while walking and the cyclone separator in the corner of a building... Listening to thunder roll away from you after a bolt finds ground.....

    I guess Autumn was so nice back then because it was a transition to the cooler weather. Some parts of school were okay. I remember the smell of the sharpened pencils with so much fondness that I still use them. How weird is that...

    1. The smell of a freshly sharpened pencil does stir some memories.

  8. Pictures of what the Missus Herself has created are always welcome.

  9. Have you added stuff since last year?

    Other than that, your writing shows the depths of your soul. Which is really deep. Good ruminations about the seasons.

    And I don't mind snow, I just mind the way it affects the idiots around me and my ability to achieve goals outside of the house. If I've got supplies and I don't have to go anywhere, let it snow. Otherwise, well, we're just not set up for that stuff down he-yah.

    I've always wondered what our recently-arrived ancestors thought when they first encountered Fall in the Northeast. Sure, you get Fall in Europe, but not, from what they tell me, the riot and brightness of the color change of the East Coast. Only seen it in pictures, never really experienced it much other than what happens here in North Central Florida, which is pretty but not the shocking brightness of up north.

    I can't wait for the first night we can toss the screen in the door and open up and just let fresh air blow through. We love the game of 'how cold can we get the apartment before we go to bed.' Last year it was 54 degrees. Which is good sleeping temperatures... Bad temps for getting up and having to go water the porcelain, but good for sleeping under the covers.

    1. The bench on the left near the fence is new, it has a companion piece on the other side of the yard.

      54 is good sleeping weather!

  10. My favourite months of the year over here in the UK are: April May June September October. July and August can really suck in the UK because of the humidity. My wife and I both prefer colder weather and our tip for a good nights sleep is a cool/cold bedroom and a good duvet.
    BTW anything over 25C and I'm out of the game.

    1. I'm with you on the "anything over 25C." I start to melt around that temperature!

    2. Here's our weather:

      Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 74. South southeast wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Low: 74 °F
      Sunny and hot, with a high near 101. South southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 74. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
      A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Sunny, with a high near 97. Heat index values as high as 100. South southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming east northeast in the afternoon.

      No chance of frostbite in the next few days! One less thing to worry about.

    3. Dang! Too hot for me. Last night was 59° and I awakened to a crisp 65°.

  11. Here in North Central Washington State, the wheat fields have all been harvested, the cherry crop has pretty much been picked, and the rest of the tree fruit crop picking will be in full swing very soon...apples being the biggest harvest of them all. Our nights are getting chilly, the air has a slight nip to it, and it's beginning to smell wonderful.

    I'm really happy to see the hot days back away and the nights shorten and cool to a comfortable sleeping temperature.

    I love the Autumn! Winter...not so much.

  12. Our morning walks are getting much easier the last week or so. Temps in the high 60's low 70's. Humidity is still pretty high, but we're not soaking wet when we get home like we have been getting lately. Highs for the days are still in the 90's, so Summer is still hanging on. But we're rapidly approaching the "other" season in Texas, which is "Nice".

  13. I grew up on the Plains (Northern Illinois), so my viewpoint is a bit different. But I've lived other places, so I know the passing of the seasons in Illinois, Southern California, and now Colorado.

    We used to joke about whether SoCal even had seasons, and came to the conclusion that it kinda did. It got dark early, cooled off a bit, and we got rain in the winter! Otherwise the weather was pretty boring there.

    Colorado winters up here in the Northern part of the state aren't nearly as bad as the winters I grew up with in Illinois. We had snow on the ground from November to April, and we had had many more days below zero than here.

    And Fall is definitely in the air here. Some of the trees are beginning to turn, the wind has picked up, and even the dog knows something's up. She sniffs the air differently this time of year, and enjoys soaking up the sun more. Gotta store up those BTU's for the coming Winter!

    But living here in the foothills these last four years has made me remember that Fall is really my favorite time of year.

    1. I loved living in Fort Collins. Summers weren't too bad, autumn and spring were nice, and winters weren't as bad as what I'd grown up with. Most of the time!

  14. What a beautiful post. And yes, the cold can be deadly but I'm with you, snow brings out the excitement of a child. OK, 5 months in and things get a little stressful, perhaps. Still, even then, a Calgary blizzard used to bring a sense of adventure; here we are, against the elements like Scot of the Antarctic, sort of thing.

    Saying that, it's hot as Hades here in Texas and I'm afraid the air might ignite, like some kind of bomb. Well, whoever said life'd be easy?

    PS. Finally added this neat blog to the "sidebar" -- forgive delay.

  15. Speaking of fall, check out this hilarious bit:


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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