Is it Fall or Was it Pushed?

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September 16, 2013 by jeliwobble

Some time ago, I wrote this about my experience of Spring in North East US.

Now, here, it’s nearly Autumn! No, seriously, Autumn. Fall is something things *do*. It’s not a season!

However, as my father noted, the first time he visited New England in the Fall, it’s easy to see why the season was renamed so. The weather is, in general, calm and warm, the perfect combination of dry but breezy, that allows leaves to gently and with fervour turn the myriad colours splendidly arrayed in a normal Autumn here, while remaining on the trees, rattling lightly. This showy display is world renowned and many a literary word has been paid in homage to it.

Then, one day, usually as September flows into October, they begin to rain down, sheeting to the ground in oceans of orangey brown crunchiness, where small children delight in stomping through them, and romantic couples happily stroll through them, revelling in the smell and sound. The leaves truly Fall.

In the UK, it’s less about delicate falling and more about being viciously pushed. The nights draw in tightly, getting dark earlier and earlier and, as it’s the tail end of hurricane season in the Atlantic, the isobars get terribly close together sweeping up on the Gulf stream. This all makes Autumn in the UK dank and windy. Oh, so windy. One day, the leaves are all in the trees, happily sussurussing away, busily turning brown. The next day, they’re all on the floor in a sort of pile of brown mush. No delighted stomping or romantic crunching through them is possible, not at least until the first frost arrives shortly afterwards.

In effect, the Autumn equinox is celebrated in the UK with a pretty word for a rather dull time, while the North East US experience is named in a somewhat utilitarian fashion for what it does, simply as it needs no extra decoration.

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