In our small chunk of rural Minnesota the new school year starts next Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. Traditionally, Labor Day signals the end of summer and the return of the school routine. It seems the delineation serves only those who have school-aged children (including college-aged) or those who teach them. We know that summer actually continues through September and some years October as we journey through multiple waves of “Indian Summer” on our way to autumn.
Here in the upper Midwest that traditional end of summer serves to remind us fall is coming, and winter is not far behind. In some parts of the country, the seasonal changes are mild or non-existent for the most part (I wouldn’t mind spending a seasonal transition in Hawaii). This is the time to pack away the pool noodles and life jackets and break out the flannel and micro-fleece.
My favorite season is fall, followed closely by spring. Fall because of the gorgeous colors: maples that turn neon pink, birches that glow yellow, and sumac that burns red around the fringes of the forest mosaic. Spring because of the renewal and the sloughing off of Winter’s grays and browns by bright greens and jeweled tulips.
Each season has its own muses, or inspirations, even winter. Spring is fresh and green, with scents of earth and rain, the feel of gentle warmth as the weather becomes more inviting. Summer is brilliant with flowers and fruits, scents of mown grass and placid lakes, the hot touch of sun, the sound of mosquitoes buzzing–wait, scratch the mosquitoes. Fall is showy, with changing leaves and bold pumpkins, the earthy perfume of fallen leaves, and the cool edge to the air reminding us of what’s to come. Winter, my least favorite in so many ways, is stark white with eye-searing blue skies and biting cold that cuts into your lungs with every breath. Winter is also delicate hoarfrost that cloaks the nude trees in sparkling crystals and the hush of falling snow, when all else is muted beneath its soft whisper.
What is your favorite season? What is it about that season you like? What does it smell like? Feel like? Sound like? Taste like? Sight is so prevalent in our writing; take ten minutes to describe what your other senses experience in your favorite season. For example:
Fall is more than back to school. It’s more than the dry crackle of fallen leaves. It’s the taste of apples and cinnamon, pumpkin pie and nutmeg. The breeze is warm and reassuring one minute, shiver-inducing cool the next, the sun not quite enough to ward off the crisp of the mornings when your breath plumes white and the windshield is frosted over. Wind rattles through the dry corn and brown leaves, and Canada geese honk their way back home.
Enjoy this “last weekend of summer” and welcome the incoming muses of autumn!