Thursday, September 18, 2008


Jim always felt melancholy in the Autumn. He would stand outside on those first cool evenings, watching crispy leaves scudding down the street, and mourn a little for the loss of Summer. I think he was also feeling age creeping up (even as energetic as he was). A long string of Summers and Springs stretched behind him and fewer Autumns and Winters lay ahead.

I must confess that there are things I miss about the Autumns of my youth. I feel a bit sad that today's suburban kids never know the smell of burning leaves.

Yes, Virginia, we actually used to burn our raked leaves, right there in the back yard. On still evenings, a pall of smoke hung over the entire neighbourhood, pungent and promising. So what if our eyes watered--the smell was heavenly! Of course, on windy days, the aroma was just a whiff on the breeze.

My parents would have laughed to scorn the idea of bagging up leaves and putting them on the curb for the garbage truck to haul off. The only burned about half of theirs--the rest went into the compost bin, to be forked over after every rain and diligently dug into the garden the following Spring. Compost, far from being gross and disgusting, had a loamy smell that spoke of natural decay and the good things to come from it.

Here in Texas, we don't usually get the brilliant colours of northern Autumn. Some trees take on a lovely hue, but most leaves just turn brown and fall off. This is partly due to the type of trees we have, but (as I found out one year when we had an early frost) the weather has a lot to do with it, as well. I confess that I miss the maples and birches and other northern trees of my childhood.

I never thought I would get homesick for the damp, foggy chill of Autumn on Vancouver Island, but I do.

So, I guess I get a little melancholy, myself.


  1. I have great memories of my visits to Scotland as a child. We used to rake up the leaves, stuff them in a barrel and drag it up to the fireplace for burning.

    My grandfather was no longer strong enough to carry anything, he had suffered a really bad heart attack.

    Wish I could remember the smell.

  2. Grab a box of matches and set a leaf or two ablaze. It will all come back to you.

  3. Don't say a word....I think it's dry outside. Shhh!

    This country must be completely water-logged.

    I'll check in tomorrow.

  4. I love the fall. If I moved I would totally miss it.

    However winter is HORRIBLE, so there is of course a drawback!

  5. Burning leaves--the best pot-pourri of Fall.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  6. I am ready for fall, I do love everything about it, but I want it to hurry up and get over with and winter too. Spring is my favorite :) I love it when everything starts growing again. I could do without summer and winter. I guess I don't like extremes.

  7. Ronni, I hope you have a good weekend and that you get a little rain.

    Any news about Brendan?

    Ciao xx

  8. Miserable boy has not contacted me in nearly a month.


    You have a good one, too, Mgt!

  9. The weather turned grey and cold on Southern Vancouver Island today. Summer has been fading fast, but struggling to hold on -- Tuesday was the last true full blue sky/hot sun grateful for the Orange Julius at the end of the school day sort of day. My son Thomas, who has started school this year decided that instead of going to the water park he wanted an Orange Julius, so we did that instead, trudging along the sidewalk from his school we kicked leaves that seemed incongruously dry, mounded up in small (so far) drifts under the trees. When you look up the branches still seem full, and on this particular day they were a screaming lemon yellow against a deep blue sky. When we left the mall after the after school treat and some shopping for dinner, the sun was lower than it seemed possible in the sky, too close to the earth, and the air seemed to be scorched in a thin desperate heat. This wasn't a generous bountiful luxurious warmth, a sybaritic velvety evening softened by ocean breezes-- this a mean, serious end of summer blaze. And we knew. We knew that the water park was over for the year, that whatever warm days happen now, they will be cracked and crazed with hairline fissures of the coming frost, that woodsmoke and pot roasts and pumpkins and squash are going to be the foods, the corn and blackberries and water melons are now memories. It was glorious day for my son and I, and a quiet one as well. He is pretty awesome.

  10. Very nice, Mijo! I think you are pretty awesome!

    I remember those Indian summers on Vancouver Island, and you just brought all that back. Thanks...

    How does Thomas like school?

  11. Hi Ronnie,

    I was cruising around the Coalition CB member list, and saw your name, and I immediately wondered how you were doing so I thought I would drop in here and read a few posts.

    I don't know why, but reading this post where you mentioned your husband brought tears to my eyes.

    Sending you an energy prayer and hope you are doing well.

  12. I've been so busy I forgot I'm a member there! Thanks, Sprocket, on both counts! LOL!

    Hopefully, things will be slowing down on the next week or so, and I can catch up over there.

  13. In a way, you must feel quite proud that Brendan is happy and getting on with things. He'll probably need something soon. lol

  14. AHHHHHH the memories you invoke! The leaves are just starting to turn here.
    I will have to get out there and take some pictures and post them.