One morning recently I walked out the kitchen door and, to my surprise, saw yellow leaves strewn across the patio and steps. I looked up at the wooden dog tree. That’s where they came from. But, it wasn’t until early August, I thought. Then, pausing, I remembered something my yiayia used to say. “Apo Avgousto, Himona. “The full sentence is:” From March, count on spring. From August, count on winter. And, it happens all seasons, I love fall the most. The days are shorter and the sun is not so intense, the humidity is less, the walks around the lake in the park are more comfortable and we can enjoy a second spring of good foods like sweet potatoes and sweeter berries and pumpkins. The trees display wonderful colorful foliage of yellow, orange and red. Some leaves turn into a rich burgundy. Health experts say enjoying the outdoors and nature can cure depression or loneliness and boost our immune systems.
There is so much more to do in the fall, like using the oven more comfortably. In the backyard, I notice that the animals that come and go safely in my backyard are looking for food more intensely. These groundhogs ate a lot of my blueberries. But, I am not bored. They can’t go to ‘Stop n Shop’ like me. A pair of groundhogs, a baby skunk, two cats and several chipmunks roam the garden and keep me entertained. They don’t know I’m looking at them so early in the morning. I regularly feed two stray cats, but found that several women down my street were feeding them as well. How good to know that there are more people feeding animals in this selfish world. One morning, I woke up to see two deer munching on the hosta that line the path leading to the backyard. Seeing them brightened my day. Hosta will grow back next year, but the deer might not come back. There is more to the fall than the cooler weather. The news is better too. In the hope that the rains will be more frequent, the fires could start to abate, drought in some areas could be relieved, all due to the rains to come.
Then there are the fall festivals in neighborhood churches where women display cute hand-knitted sweaters, cat blankets, scarves, mittens, and other crafts. In Nyack, the freshly harvested pumpkins on display mean fresh pumpkin pies and apple cider. October is the magical time of olive picking in Greece, I am told. Of course, fall is also a reminder that the gifting holidays are coming. Searching for the right gift is as stressful as finding a parking space. In fact, a parking space is a great gift!
October makes the interior perfect for a hot cup of tea instead of iced tea, the serene calm and a comfy chair by the window and, perhaps, a book or magazine. I even appreciate the catalogs at this time. The freshly harvested apples are so perfect in the fall with a crunch and sweetness that only season can create.
Cozy and cozy fall is welcome after “August Dog Days,” so called due to observing dogs panting with their tongues hanging out, sitting in a shady spot and wondering when this will end. The ancient Greeks, especially women, also celebrated the equinox in September. This marked the Thesmophia and Stenia festivals which welcomed the harvest season and marked the time to thank the gods for the bountiful yield of vegetables and fruits, something like Thanksgiving.
. Poets and writers have glorified fall with words like “Fall carries more gold in its pocket than any other season (Jim Bishop). It’s true. The cool breezes that stir the autumn leaves seem to carry a restorative spirit that rekindles a soul weary of the isolation and caution that have turned our lives upside down with the Covid pandemic. But, unfortunately, the beauty that poets and writers appreciated and drew inspiration from is declining. Climate change is finally being achieved by those who are too arrogant, too selfish to admit it. None of the chaos and destruction was caused by nature which knows how to heal; it is caused by man. There is the hunting season with the excuse that the culling of the animal population is a necessity. Who eliminates human evildoers? Oh oh ! Kiki, I think it’s about time I went for this healing walk around the lake in the county park.