Fall is not mistress of her own domain this year. Instead of strutting in with lower temperatures, less humidity, and a bright mass of colors, she has imitated August’s lack of rain, higher daytime and nighttime temperatures, and stick-to-your-skin humidity. The grass and leaves are still a mixture of browns and greens. Summer does not want to leave and Autumn is letting her stay as long as she wants.
Normally Fall enters as a brassy strumpet-vibrant look-at-me colors, skirt lifting breezes, a cricket crescendo to mark the waning light and declining temperatures. The light is waning, but most of the temperatures are not. The only insects trying to sneak into the house are the unwanted stink bugs. These primitive looking insects seem to hark back to an earlier age.
This year fall is doing a subtle strip tease. The wind haphazardly scatters random handfuls of brown leaves–enough to litter the porch and sidewalks, but not enough to create a pile worth raking, burning, or jumping into. She can’t seduce with us overwhelming sensory sights, sounds, and smells. She musts entice with a hint of color here, a murmur of leaf crunch there, the brief scent of composting leaves early in the morning, the occasional relief of a cooler breeze on our still bare arms.
Apple cider, pumpkins, and chrysanthemums have become the produce of choice at local farm stands. Many of the regional farmers’ markets will shut down in the next week or two, unless the absent frost prolongs the growing season. Wineries have completed their grape harvest, except for grapes like petite manseng which are normally harvested last..
The leaf peepers keep pushing back the weekend of peak foliage. Normally the 3rd weekend of October for Central Virginia, this may be one of the years where many trees still have green leaves at Thanksgiving.
Will fall make an appearance this year, or will it silently slip away? Will Winter suddenly announce itself with frosty breath and blackened plants? Meteorological winter does not arrive until December 1, but the season seldom read the calendar.
Join in the conversation with your view about whether this is a typical fall.