The First Day of Fall

In the northern hemisphere, today is the autumnal equinox, when day and night are more or less of equal length. But from now until December, the days will get shorter as we head toward winter.  From the Old Farmer’s Almanac here is a lovely quotation, an Irish proverb: Autumn days come quickly, like the running of a hound on the moor.

They certainly do.

In the United States, we also refer to autumn as fall. I asked my husband Clif which word he thought we used most.

“It depends on whether you want to be hoity-toity,” he answered.

This confirmed my suspicions. In Maine, anyway, fall is more commonly used than autumn.

Whatever you call it—fall or autumn—this is one of the most beautiful times in northern New England. The days are warm, the nights are cool, and soup is back again on the menu. And in October comes a blaze of glory as the leaves change from green to red and yellow and orange.

This September has been spectacularly nice in Maine, with sunny days punctuated by  enough rain to keep things green and growing. Especially during this time of the pandemic, we feel very fortunate to be able to spend so much time on the patio.

The gardens at our home by the edge of the woods continue their gentle decline toward winter. Still, there are things to notice and enjoy in the yard.

Little stars of fall,

the tangly garden in our front yard,

hens and chicks on a rock beside the garden,

the waning of the black-eyed Susans,

and a wee red mushroom in the front yard.

Not being knowledgable about mushrooms, I’ll leave this one to the wood fairies and sprites that no doubt come out at night.


58 thoughts on “The First Day of Fall”

  1. For the first day of fall, it feels pretty summery today with warmth, tropical humidity and showers. But we know what’s coming! 😉
    I really like your hens and chicks with lichen and moss – so pretty!

  2. Fall is my favorite season, and you have captured the “little special things about it” so beautifully! I’m enjoying sunny front porch time in the mornings here, and afternoons on the deck, where I can choose sun or shade.

  3. Your garden is looking good. Autumn is creeping up on us with hardly a cold night to give us the proper autumn feeling. There is nothing like a crisp sunny autumn morning to to make you feel better about the oncoming winter.

  4. I didn’t realize until this past week how short the days are getting. By 8 p.m., it’s full dark now, and I’m thinking it’s time for bed! In a few weeks, daylight saving time will go away, and then we’re really in for those long, dark nights! But for now, it’s nearly perfection. I’m so glad you’re having the sort of weather that allows you to be outside enjoying those gardens. Keep an eye on that mushroom — if it disappears, you just might have sprites!

  5. This is a delightful post: not only is your introduction a lovely read, but your garden is looking beautiful. We are heading for brighter days and warmer weather – a wonderful thought.

  6. It is raining here today but we have had some lovely days too and they are so precious with winter on the horizon. I always call this season Autumn but fall describes it perfectly.

  7. Yes, I’d leave that mushroom to the magical creatures. Red mushrooms are not usually meant for humans.
    Fall in your garden looks so lovely. I go back and forth, between calling it autumn and calling it fall. I’ve read that “fall” became an Americanism (it’s said “fall,” the younger term, was the more poetic compliment to “spring” but the British, in general, landed on “autumn”) although we do use both terms on this side of the pond.

  8. Your garden looks very pretty in autumn and I agree about September, I think it is one of the most pleasant months of the year all around the world…no extremes, just nice easy weather…enjoy!

  9. Love your fall beauties, Laurie! These shorter days are particularly confusing to my little Monkey, who’s never lived through a Fall before. He seems to think it’s bedtime as soon as supper is finished, ha!

  10. Ah, the changing of the seasons … I feel very wistful as I view the signs of the weather turning.

    I have never seen a mushroom so red & shiny before – well, except for those spun out of sugar for cake toppings. It is so enticing! I am guessing it is not edible.

  11. I love Autumn especially when it comes like an Indian Summer with some sunny, warm days – and i’m not being hoity toity, just English 😉

  12. The description of autumn where you live sounds so beautiful! We’ve had some fantastic warm days here but days certainly are shorter. We don’t get much of the colours here but if you go a bit further north it’s more colourful in the woody areas. However I’ve found a small forest near our town where possibly there is hope to see some real autumn colours.

  13. I say fall, but I like autumn better. On the BBC show Autumnwatch, one of the hosts commented that in America, they say “fall”, but not in the UK. One of the Autumnwatch series was filmed in the NE United States, haven’t watched it but I think it might be on YouTube.

  14. You have a red mushroom – how exciting! I’m hoity-toity of course, being British. These days I am sometimes tempted to write fall, but it seems rather strange to do that here – a cultural appropriation, almost!

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