28 September 2009

A Breath of Fall

The cold front is suddenly here, after being fobbed off by tropical air and the awful rains which destroyed so many homes and roads, not to mention nine lives. I noticed quite suddenly the other day that the trees behind our neighbor's house had sprinklings of red and orange leaves. It was only evident from the mailbox and quite surprising, although one type of tree—the locust, according to the Forest Service website in North Georgia—has already had scattered yellow leaves for weeks.

This morning I had to pull up my windows on the way in to work, as the breeze was actually chilly. Tonight the low is supposed to go to 51°F, although it will not fall that far until just before dawn.

25 September 2009

Rudolph Day, September 2009

The purpose of Rudolph Day is to keep the Christmas spirit all year long. One can prepare Christmas gifts or crafts, watch a Christmas movie, play Christmas music, or read a Christmas book.

If you're lucky, autumn has already arrived or fall is just around the corner. Christmas is just over the horizon! Today there are exactly three months until Christmas.

Here are three 19th century Christmas tales:

The Christmas Angel, Abbie Farwell Brown.

The Romance of a Christmas Card, Kate Douglas Wiggin

(Incidentally, this story takes place in Beulah, also the setting for Wiggins' Mother Carey's Chickens, which Disney made into the film Summer Magic.)

When the Yule Log Burns, Leona Dalrymple

There are many histories of Christmas out there, from the old-fashioned tomes of Dawson and Miles, to the newest volumes about Christmas in the United States by Nissenbaum and Restad. However, in her Merry Christmas! Karal Ann Marling does a fresh take on the vision of Christmas in America. In this delightful, quite readable volume, Marling traces the history of familiar Christmas things, beginning with wrapping paper and ending with classic Christmas films, with material taken from the magazines and newspapers of the day. We discover how the now ubiquitous Christmas villages go back to the German putz under the Christmas tree and the Italian presipio; how trends in concealing gifts came about, the history of department store window displays, nostalgia for "old-fashioned Christmases" that were sometimes created fictions, and more, all liberally illustrated with vintage magazine ads and illustrations. I have to admit, one of the reasons I love this book is that it references St. Nicholas so much!—but the whole book is a wonderful cornucopia of treats in print.

19 September 2009

Autumn Just Around the Corner

I took the opportunity to put the fall decorations on the porch yesterday—well, part of them, anyway: the banner, the basket, the wreath. You can't walk into a store now and not see fall decorations, especially the craft stores or discount stores. We were in Big Lots today and I hugged an especially pretty autumn leaf garland. If only the rain would get out of the way to make way for a cold front. We had a nice rainy day today, only it isn't cold enough for a fire, or to even feel like making gingerbread.

Chilly fall days are perfect for this: turn on the gas, bake some gingerbread or light a gingerbread candle, find a book and enjoy, instead of gazing wistfully out at the blazing sun knowing it's 90 degrees in the shade.

It is unusual how many of the trees are starting to turn here. Usually the dogwoods start the earliest, some as early as the end of August. But there are dozens of groups of little maple trees who already have reddish leaves, or branches. One type of tree—I'm not sure what kind—already has a smattering of bright yellow leaves among the green.

I am truly homesick for fall!

11 September 2009

Drink in the Wine of Autumn

Weather.com has this nice slideshow of autumn photos.

02 September 2009

Enjoy the Fall!

Yesterday I took great joy in ripping down those summer flowers in my cubicle and taking down the summer bouquet and vase of flowers 4and all the summer pictures, and putting up fall photos (the photos and pictures are all from old calendars), the fall bouquet, the fall vase of leaves, and the leaf garland. The cubicle is so tranquil now (well, as tranquil as you can be with those wretched fluorescent lights shining in it). I played George Winston, "Autumn" and "Plains," as I worked.

01 September 2009


Although the fall equinox itself is some weeks away, it is now meteorological autumn. The trees seem to know it, as all the dogwood leaves are tinged with red, and the ones behind our building at work have the dogwood equivalent of rose hips (dogwood hips?) on their branches. Acorns are starting to fall, ones and twos, and sometimes threes, from the oak trees around the parking lot, and the tulip trees have been dotted with yellow leaves for some time now; already in August our back yard is scattered with a smattering of yellow and brown tulip tree leaves.

Yesterday it was cloudy most of the day, until late afternoon, and the temperature may not have even reached 80°F. It is cloudy again this morning, that "is it going to rain" iron-grey sky that looks so ominous and keeps it so nice and cool. I think it will be 79 or 80 today, too.

Summer is still hanging on with her teeth: it will be in the low 80s this weekend. I long for today's cloud cover and cooler temperatures then!