While summer is my favorite time of year, there’s something about early fall that also brings joy. It’s nice to take a break from the rigor of summer garden chores, to relax in cooler weather, and to start dreaming about next season. For me, the end of summer and the start of fall is a feeling, and it’s triggered by many things.
A Briskness in the Air
One of the first things I tend to notice as fall begins and summer ends is the change in the air. It gets cooler, but there is also a crispness, a briskness. It makes me feel like putting on a sweater. The air also has a particular smell in the fall. If coolness has a smell, this is it. It smells like dying leaves, I suppose, cooler earth, and frosty grass.
Changing Colors, Not Just Leaves
Another big signal for fall, obviously, is the change in colors. Leaves change color, and I always notice the first signs, usually as early as mid-August. The tips of maple leaves just begin to burnish. A few of the walnut leaves outside my window drift down like large, yellow rain drops.
What I also see, beginning in August, is a change in other colors. My day lilies start to yellow; the ferns brown up a little; the grass turns browner too, and grows less; wildflowers I see on my walks and runs are richer tones of golden yellow, purple, and deep orange.
Summer’s End is a Feeling
All the senses stir as fall begins, but there’s still just a feeling, not easy to describe, that marks the end of summer. Maybe it comes from so many years of going back to school in the fall. There is a melancholy about this time of year, but also some pleasure in the shift. It almost feels like a new beginning.
Now that school is long past, I still feel this change in the garden. The season is ending, and the work I did to create my summer garden is done. At this point, it’s all about ending the gardening year and getting it ready for the next season. It’s a bittersweet feeling, both an end and a beginning.