I have recently realized that this is the first time that I’ve had time to really enjoy autumn. I always took a big chunk of my vacation in October. October is a great month to finish projects and prepare for winter – that’s right, I know how to enjoy my vacation. Even though I had many days off during this season, I was busy. Busy with those projects I was trying to finish, busy trying to get two cars in the garage before I had to start scraping ice off the windshields, and busy with the “important” emails and questions that came from work. When you work for a small company, you’re never truly on vacation.
This year, I am still trying to finish some projects, and I am still working to get prepared for winter, but I am enjoying autumn. It won’t surprise any regular reader when I say that I’ve been enjoying my morning walks with our Irish Setter, Maddie. I like walking, but I’ve been fascinated by the fall colors. I have to say, we aren’t even having a great year for fall color. We have a mix of green trees, brilliant colors and leaves that fell without changing colors and are simply drying out on the ground.
As I’ve been walking, I’ve been considering my title, the reliability of autumn. At least in New England, the other three seasons don’t seem to be reliable. We’re looking in the rearview mirror at the driest, hottest and (in my opinion) the most humid summer on record. Almost no cool days. Almost no summer thunderstorms. Almost no green grass. Summer started out hot and stayed hot. One of the reasons I am trying to finish projects in October is because 95°f (35°c) days chased me away from my projects into air-conditioned comfort.
Spring has also been unreliable. While we had lots of budding flowers and signs of life, recent springs have been wet and cold. Winter, I’ll get to winter in a minute, has invaded spring, or at least reminded us that most of March is part of winter. April, on the other hand, should be solidly spring. It hasn’t been. Spring arrives with a lot of promises, but lately, it hasn’t been delivering until mid-May.
Winter remains the bully of the four seasons. Winter is capable of derailing your plans and making you miserable, but winter in New England has become the most random season we have. In recent memory, we’ve had years where we received 80″(203cm) of snow in January and years when we’ve had less than half that snowfall amount all season. Two years ago, we had 70° days in February. When I was working, I was twice stranded in Florida at a winter meeting because I was unable to return due to snow in Hartford. I also had meetings where it was warmer in Hartford than where we were in Florida. Winter can be beautiful, but lately, it can’t be counted on.
Autumn is reliable. I’m sure there’s a meteorologist somewhere who could explain why my observations aren’t surprising, but while summer might extend into the first weeks of September, we tend to see the end of 90° days early in that month. On the other end of the spectrum, we don’t often see snow in October and November and it’s not normally terribly cold. I love October and November because I get to wear vests. I am currently wearing a cloth (fishing or photographer’s) vest. In a few weeks, I will switch to may favorite down vest. By mid-November, I’ll be finishing those outside projects in a flannel shirt and my Carhart work vest.
Finally, I can’t ignore that autumn means football. I’m talking about the US version of that game, and I enjoy watching it. We almost lost NCAA (college) football this year, due to the pandemic, but my teams are playing. Professional football (NFL) has managed to put on a pretty good show this year, even though the stadiums are mostly empty. My teams are delivering mixed results, some good, some scary, but I still enjoy watching the games. I hope you’re enjoying autumn, or spring, if that’s the side of the world you are on, and I hope you can stay safe and well throughout the season.
I hope you’re enjoying autumn, or spring, if that’s the side of the world you are on, and I hope you can stay safe and well throughout the season.