Welcome to Fall, er, Autumn, er, Falltumn

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Today is the first day of autumn (in my hemisphere), one of the most unpredictable days of the year.  True, this year it’s been almost sardonically on-the-nose (where I live): yesterday was a blazing final summer day in the 90s, today is a crisply cool first day of fall in the 60s. It’s as if Mother Nature were saying, “Oh, you want fall? Here, eat this!”

But then again, that’s autumn, the conflicted season. Sometimes is Summtum, unseasonably warm. Somtimes is Fallmer, unseasonably cool. And sometimes it’s Falltumn, the season we love so much we’ve given it two names!

Americans call it fall (an old Anglo-Saxon word) because, well, things fall. A very realistic term, considering that the celebrated symbols of the season—those exquisite leaves—last about ten minutes before they fall to the ground. It’s the season of the fleeting, the unattainable. What we want are trees that are red, what we get are leaves that are dead. Red leaves and dead leaves. There’s something very human about that.

On the other hand, the lovely French-Latinate word autumn, meaning “mature,” suggesting a magnificent French gentlemen strutting his stuff, only to be tripped by a cocky younger fellow (probably an American) and falling to the ground. What he wants is not what he gets because, after all, being mature means the end is near.

In fact…

In most of the world’s languages the name of the season means ending. In the ancient Hebrew calendar it’s the season of harvest or “ingathering,” but it’s also the start of a new year (it is for Muslims, as well).

Do you see the spiritual longing there?

We want it both ways. We’re as conflicted as the season is. We want to retain the old and lay hold of the new. But we can’t. We have to let go of what was in order to lay hold of what will be.

Ah, humans. They want it all. And who can fault ‘em? They’re made that way.

So welcome to falltumn.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Welcome to Fall, er, Autumn, er, Falltumn

  1. Thotaramani says:

    Spring season brings new leaves in the 🎄🌴 trees. 🌞💥

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to share my perspective on this fine change of sesson. Now, I must fine the words.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ana Daksina says:

    Mini hippie retrons of the sneezin’!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cooler temps are on their way here. I love autumn. I love this post. God bless, Mitch!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fall/Winter are my two favorite seasons, and no matter what anyone wants to call Fall, I am here for it all!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Caroll says:

    Beautiful and educational piece! After 2 weeks straight of blazing temps over 100 degrees here in So Cal, we are FINALLY enjoying a crisp morning, followed by warm sunshine most days. Our leaves DO turn, too, contrary to popular opinion elsewhere. The prettiest are the blazing reds and oranges of liquid ambers — They are in full autumn/fall glory around Thanksgiving, when the Midwest and East are already blanketed in snow. I call them “California Christmas trees.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      We loved the liquid amber trees that lined the boulevards of Burbank when we lived there! We have them in our yard here in Cincinnati, but everyone calls them sweetgum trees. They’re beautiful, but for some reason, unlike the liquid ambers in Burbank, they drop huge numbers of spikey balls (seed clusters). Could it be we just never noticed the spikeballs in Burbank, or were they a different variety of sweetgum?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Caroll says:

        Mitch, I don’t know if there are varieties with no spike balls. Those are the one drawback. We had one on our home property and my husband cut it down because he once stepped on a spike ball in his bare feet! (He is now my EX-husband.)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. revruss1220 says:

    Happy Falltumn to you, too! Think I’ll go have a slice of pumpkin-spiced, hot apple cider, chestnut pie to celebrate.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Gary Fultz says:

    So true Mitch. I decided to act as if it were still summer anyway, but that was yesterday.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. pkadams says:

    I want cool breezy, sunny Fall , not wet , dreary Fall. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Here in the Pacific NW, specifically Oregon, we’re still riding the roller coaster of hot and chilled temps. We ramp up into the mid 80s and then slide down to the high 50s overnight. What would you call this, Mitch, oh Clever One?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I happily walking my “loop” with my ears covered and wearing gloves! (From frostbite on January 10, 1955)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. For many years, both as a student and as a teacher, I found the sadness of summer’s end was chased away by the excitement of another school year starting. Now that I’m retired, it’s weirdly easy to forget what month it is, especially since I have grandchildren who have already been in school for six weeks! (What’s up with THAT?!)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. C.A. Post says:

    Yeah, it’s fall here in Kentucky, also. The French never seemed to figure out how to pronounce half their letters, ergo, Autum is spelled Autumn. Kind of like Ver-sails here in Kentucky, which my GPS pronounces Ver-sigh (trying to be fancy French, I guess). Both spell it Versailles, but Kentucky’s pronunciation is closer to the mark. 🤠

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Chaya Sheela says:

    Lovely piece.
    I like, “Ah, humans. They want it all. And who can fault ‘em? They’re made that way.” So true.
    Have a great weekend, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Does having a landscape of evergreens explain, then, why Australians call it autumn?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I say fall, but autumn sounds so much prettier!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Anonymous says:

    Here in Prescott Valley, AZ, it can be Falter… often getting some nice snow before the first day of winter… Seasons, they do as they please, but I am lovin’ the cooler weather we’re getting right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I adore the visual of the mature French gentlemen being tripped by the cocky younger (probably American) fellow. “Welcome to fall” 👌🏽🍂🍁

    Liked by 1 person

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