I really miss autumns in the USA. They are so much more colourful than the bland autumns here in the UK where the leaves may turn a slight shade of brown or orange before falling to the ground. Also, the weather just turns a bit cooler. In the USA, it gets much colder and frosty for a couple of weeks before the last warmth of the year returns for another couple of weeks. These two warm weeks are known as "Indian Summer", and it's my favourite time of year. This normally happens in the early or middle part of October. Of course, some autumns are more colourful than others, and wind or rain is not appreciated because that knocks the leaves and colour off the trees.
I have not been to the USA for autumn or seen it since I lived there, and that last time was around 2003. From what I remember, it was not a memorable autumn like some of the past ones. The above photographs were past autumns that I enjoyed growing up, and they would have been taken in the late 1980s and early 1990s. My aunt bought me a camera for my birthday in the late 1980s, and it went everywhere with me.
One of my favourite pastimes was going on walks on the farm. My favourite was to climb the large hill that was located across some pastures. The hill over-looked a small village and valley, and it was a great place to enjoy the views and the autumn colours.
Autumn also meant drinking apple cider (pure apple juice) and carving pumpkins. It also meant picking gourds, squash, apples, and Indian corn. Indian corn is brightly-coloured corn that is used for decoration in the autumn. It is left to dry in the fields and then picked in the autumn. The husks are peeled back to reveal beautiful colours, and the colours were unknown until the husks were pulled back to reveal it.
Over January one year, probably close to twelve years ago now, my father was helping with replacing the flooring at my grandmother's house. They discovered several old newspapers dating from the early 1900s, and the newest one of the lot was dated in the early January at around the same time that the floor was being replaced, which means that the last floor work was probably done about 90 years ago at roughly the same time of the year.
I read many of the articles in the old papers. In one, there was a poem that described autumn. The papers are currently in the USA, but I wanted to track the poem down. I remembered the title of it, so I tried my luck at searching for it and was able to locate it. News in America is syndicated because it's such a large country, so articles would be posted across many papers. I was able to trace the poem to an identical page located in a newspaper known as Elmira Telegram from New York. The direct link is at the bottom of this post.
Nearly a hundred years after the poem was published by an (I assume) reader/writer who submitted it to the Denver Times newspaper, it was read by me. I do not know anything about the writer of the poem other than it was printed in the November 4, 1903 edition of the Elmira Telegram newspaper. The poem is below.
RUSSET, PURPLE AND GOLD.
The woodland dreams in the distant blue;
The foothllls hide in the purple haze;
The forest is robed in a royal blue,
And the boundless valleys seem ablaze.
The beautiful trees unfold,
In a quiet display of, shifting-scene,
Advance from the order of gray and green
To russet, purple and gold.
The mellow sunbeams gleam and glow,
And shimmer above the peaceful fields.
The willows lean where the waters flow;
The rushes rustle their fluted shields,
The grasses are all unrolled;
The cricket his farewell sonnet weaves
While over him hang the autumn leaves,
In russet, purple; and gold.
Oh, let me wander among the vines,
Where bramble and briar shield the brake
When Indian summer around me shines,
And the frosted leaves a footway make!
I refuse to be counted old--
The alluring hopes of youth return
For the mystic fires, of boyhood burn
In russet, purple, and gold.
- O. W. KINNE, (In Denver Times)
Autumn really is my favourite time of year.