Before moving to live in the United States I didn’t use to give much consideration to the time of year called Autumn. English Autumn to me signals the end of the warmer weather and the start of cooler, shorter days ahead. The damp autumn air and thick heavy dew on the grass in the mornings. The days are getting shorter already and this is the downhill to chilly temperatures and spending much more time in the dark! In Yorkshire the sun will set as early as 3.45pm and rise as late as 8.25am in the winter! For me this meant doing a lot of my jobs with my horse in the dark. Seeing the amount of daylight fade each day is like watching time slip away. However, one must always remain positive and find something to enjoy with this time of year.
Crisp and crunchy leaves on the floor make for one of my favourite experiences of trudging through them to create a sensory experience of sound and texture. The excitement of children and adults alike to find brown shiny conkers (horse chestnuts) popping out of their shells. I remember one particularly prolific conker tree at Harewood House in Leeds (close to the entrance to the bird garden if you’re trying to find it!). We were there on exactly the right day and time when conkers were popping out of their shells from up in the tree. It was a shower of conkers raining down and the children under the tree were dashing around unable to pick them all up as they were dropping quicker than they could be collected! Families returned home that day with their pockets bulging with shiny, jewel like conkers! I remember as a child my dad would bring home conkers for us that he had found whilst at work going on home visits to see his patients! I loved getting those conkers and would add them to our ever growing collection that me and my sister kept in a big tin.
Autumn in the USA is so very different! Firstly it is called ‘fall’. It’s so much more than a time of year or a season. Fall is a thing! Fall is an occasion worthy of decorations galore and celebration.
Everyone here is so excited about fall and it is possibly most people’s favourite time of the year. We are losing the very hot temperatures and high humidity of summer and the climate outside feels wonderful! It’s still warm and sunny except now the days are incredibly comfortable. It’s pleasant to spend time outside without sweating the entire time or your hair going frizzy. The numbers of mosquitoes are reducing so we are heading back outside on an evening with less fear of being eaten! I can now happily light the fire pit without the feeling that I couldn’t possibly add any more heat to the already boiling atmosphere!
It did not take me long last year during my first fall in the USA to get hooked on decorating my house with pumpkins. I became a bit of a pumpkin collector and was unable to refuse temptation to keep adding to my collection of pumpkins whenever I saw a new variety I didn’t already have! I think my favourites were the small white Cinderella style ones. Stalls and tents are set up on the roadside to sell pumpkins of every shape, size and colour. A great deal of thought goes into selecting your pumpkins. Do you want to stack them? If so then you need to try out your stacking display before you buy to make sure they will stand up!
I love pumpkins now and am feeling excited at the prospect of pumpkin season nearly being here. We were lucky enough to visit the incredible pumpkin display in The Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. I have never seen so many pumpkins displayed in one place. There are apparently over 75,000 pumpkins and you have to see it to believe it. It was simply a pumpkin paradise with lined pathways. huts built from pumpkins and the centrepiece of the display is a Cinderalla’s carriage! It is definite worth making a trip to see and definitely take your camera as it will be the perfect backdrop for some lovely photos. There are great cafes and restaurants and you can also take a picnic so you can easily spend a day here and you will want to! (Photo courtesy of Dallas Arboretum)
The decoration of houses and shopping malls will now be a constant feature in the run of fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving into Christmas. Fall decor is helpfully able to adapt over the next few months with slight additions from now into Halloween with a few spooky accessories added and once Halloween is finished it’s simple to take the spiders and cobwebs away and replace them with turkeys so Thanksgiving decor is ready to go!
New Traditions Made
Fall is my most favourite adopted new tradition and I’m loving sharing everyone’s passion and enthusiasm for this time of year. It’s something that I will keep doing now as at a time of year when it’s starting to get darker and cold the positivity of the Americans at this time of year is definitely something I would like to emulate! I’m by no means an expert but by watching my American friends hopefully I can learn how to become a fall professional too!