It’s Fall Ya’ll!
Autumn officially started this year on the 23rd of September, in the Northern Hemisphere at least. However, in Oklahoma it seems to start whenever it darn well feels like it. Apparently, that was overnight, last night. The rain did help, but it was not until yesterday that all the leaves on the tree in the front yard turned those beautiful dark ochre and gold colours. Fall has always been my favourite of the four calendar seasons that we get in Oklahoma. Not only does it bring cooler weather, but it also brings the harvest time. Fall harvests in Oklahoma include pumpkins, some types of peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and my personal favourite, turnips.
This particular season is not just about harvests, for most people that is a big part though. Fall is a big tourist season for us here in Oklahoma as we have a lot of trees, that means lots of leaves to change colours, and we also have the wonderful family farm activities. Not all family farms have these activities open to the public. My family does not as our farm is not big and impressive enough to do so. Ours is to sustain us and not to impress others. The families that do open their farms up for activities during the fall will usually have large pumpkin patches for people to come gather pumpkins or have corn mazes. The corn mazes are fun, but when I was a child I almost got lost in one on a school field trip. That was kind of scary since the corn stalks were taller than I was at the time. On occasion some people will have hay rides and take you around the farm in the back of a wagon or a trailer attached to a tractor. Whatever the activity, it is usually a family event and in Oklahoma family means a lot to almost everyone.
Autumn holidays are huge in my family, of course I have a huge family so that might have something to do with it. The two biggest holidays during this season are All Hallows’ Eve and Thanksgiving. All Hallows’ Eve is particularly entertaining for me as I love to see the little kids dressed up in their costumes. The church I go to has a fall festival that day with tons of games and candy for the kids. The city where I grew up also has a huge activity for the kids in late October so they can dress up and play games in the downtown area. It is fun and it gets the community involved in something. Thanksgiving is usually filled with food and family. Most people stay home or go back to where they grew up to visit family. The most common dish served on Thanksgiving? Turkey with dressing and gravy. There are so many different ways to fix turkey that our family usually has two or three of them prepared. The shocking thing is that we usually do not have many leftovers. Speaking of leftovers, the leftovers from Thanksgiving tend to last for a while and for us here in Oklahoma that is perfectly fine. At our house we freeze a lot of our leftovers and we may eat them all the way up to Christmastide. Odd, but true and it is not just my family either. I was surprised to find out that a lot of people are doing that now.
The name of this season is a bit of an odd thing. At least to me it is. The word “fall” has never really made sense to me. That is why I prefer the term autumn. The word fall in reference to this season seems to be an American thing and much of the rest of the world uses autumn. I get that some people find it a lot simpler to say fall and will defend it as that is the time when the leaves fall from the trees as the origin of the term, but the truth is that nobody really knows how that term came about. The word autumn comes from an old Etruscan root word, autu-, and has something to do with seasons changing. That seems to make more sense to me. Autumn does bring about quite the change. The weather turns cooler and it used to be the time when people would start store food for the upcoming winter. Plants start to produce their fruits and die off. Animals start to prepare for hibernation or they start migrating. Great changes happen during autumn that do not necessarily have to do with leaves falling. So, dig out your cold weather clothing because the cold weather is here for quite some time!
Stay warm and lovely everyone!