How Do I Know It’s Autumn? It’s a generational thing.

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As long as my memory will go back, I've been taught that the first of August is the beginning of Autumn. That's just how we say it too—-The Beginning of Autumn. It might require you to wear something long sleeve at night and run the air conditioning at the same time inside.  We also celebrate..The Beginning of Winter and Spring.  I see the signs all around me announcing the beginning of each season because my great aunt religiously pointed them out to me. Night time temps are one of my first favorites but the sun is the most obvious.  This year it was most obvious first with the change in light and intensity of the light. The light has a orange pinkish glow. It comes across the land differently. You not only see it but feel it on your skin differently. The clouds reflect the light with a noticed softness. There will still be warm days but the nights are much cooler. The two changes start a process in the trees that stop chlorophyll production. These teachings I received as a child are not religious to me although they are used for very religious worship purposes in China and other cultures. Having this knowledge drives the futures markets and feed prices. Markets and money makers know when the harvest will come and watch every sign they can to work the system.  

I learned it because my family were growers and reapers. It was important to know when to harvest a plant. It could mean too much or too little maturity. Moisture content played a major role at market. That would affect the price. My family was mostly furniture builders and knew a great deal about the quality of lumber and timber products. So…they grew both edible crops and usable lumber.  

Depending on a wet or dry summer will dictate the colors of fall. A dry summer means less green chlorophyll in the leaves and the other colors which are yellows and oranges/reds are more dominate. When the chlorophyll quits being produced at the beginning of Autumn, the other colors that were always there start to show their brilliance. Now once fall has started and the color begins to change, a tiny group of cells affected by the position of the sun in the sky will start to die. When those cells have died completely, the green of chlorophyll is absent and the leaf is officially dead. The death of the cells holding the leaf to the tree causes the leaf to fall from the tree—–that is where the name Fall comes from. The length of Autumn color depends on how much rain the region receives. Lots of rain will cause the leaves to fall off too quickly because the row of cells holding the leaf to the tree is fragile at this time of year. It can not withstand a heavy rainfall. So to sum this up, less rain in the summer means a prettier fall because of the lack of chlorophyll and—–less rain in Autumn prolongs the color allowing the leaf to stay on the tree longer and letting the yellows and oranges/reds show through.  

 Fall or Autumn as I prefer to call it, is widely accepted as coming on September 22. For me though, September 22 is the middle of the Autumn season and the end of November marks the beginning of Winter. Autumn begins in August when that little layer of cells starts to die at the base of the leaf. September 22 is the middle of Autumn because it can be peak season for the leaf change. By then—some leaves have lost all of their chlorophyll or green dominate color. By November, the end of Autumn has taken place and the leaves are off the trees.   

I was raised( if you are a plant)/reared( children are reared and plants are raised) by folklore and traditions passed through many generations on how to recognize the beginning of seasons. I don't even think about it as it is as much a part of me as eating chocolate.  NC is a melting pot of mainly people fleeing religious persecution from other nations. But these people were determined and industrious and read the signs and learned from the local Indians.  The first NCers of course were Indians and their signs of Autumn traditionally hold synonymous with my traditions. They taught the first settlers and I'm fortunate enough to still have those stories and teachings passed down to me. Now that was a lot of justifying as to why Autumn has arrived at my house—-but for me—I see it, smell it, taste it, feel it, and by tradition have no choice but to say…. Welcome Fall Ya'll.  

Here is the calendar announcing the beginning of Autumn as August 7th. It's from Wikipedia and is a Chinese calendar but  old folklore calendars in NC are similar.

In my search for support and information I ran across a post at Tangled Branches weblog. She has used the same references. It was good to see another Autumn supporter for August.

Info below taken from:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_term

List of solar terms

Longi-
tude
Usual
translation
Chinese
name ¹
Japanese
name
Korean
name ²
Vietnamese
name
Date ³ Remark
315° start of spring 立春
lìchūn
立春
risshun
입춘 (立春)
ipchun
Lập xuân Feb 4  
330° rain water 雨水
yǔshuǐ
雨水
usui
우수 (雨水)
usu
Vũ thủy Feb 19 more rain than snow
345° awakening of insects 驚蟄 (惊蛰)
jīngzhé
啓蟄
keichitsu
경칩 (驚蟄)
gyeongchip
Kinh trập Mar 5 lit. awakening of hibernating insects. See the note at Chinese calendar#Solar term.
vernal equinox 春分
chūnfēn
春分
shunbun
춘분 (春分)
chunbun
Xuân phân Mar 21 lit. spring division (or center)
15° clear and bright 清明
qīngmíng
清明
seimei
청명 (清明)
cheongmyeong
Thanh minh Apr 5 time for tending graves
30° grain rain 穀雨 (谷雨)
gǔyǔ
穀雨
kokuu
곡우 (穀雨)
gogu
Cốc vũ Apr 20 lit. grain rain: rain helps grain grow
45° start of summer 立夏
lìxià
立夏
rikka
입하 (立夏)
ipha
Lập hạ May 6  
60° grain full 小滿 (小满)
xiǎomǎn
小満
shōman
소만 (小滿)
soman
Tiểu mãn May 21 grains are plump
75° grain in ear 芒種 (芒种)
mángzhòng
芒種
bōshu
망종 (芒種)
mangjong
Mang chủng Jun 6 lit. awns (beard of grain) grow
90° summer solstice 夏至
xiàzhì
夏至
geshi
하지 (夏至)
haji
Hạ chí Jun 21 lit. summer extreme (of sun's height)
105° minor heat 小暑
xiǎoshǔ
小暑
shōsho
소서 (小暑)
soseo
Tiểu thử Jul 7  
120° major heat 大暑
dàshǔ
大暑
taisho
대서 (大暑)
daeseo
Đại thử Jul 23  
135° start of autumn 立秋
lìqiū
立秋
risshū
입추 (立秋)
ipchu
Lập thu Aug 7  
150° limit of heat 處暑 (处暑)
chǔshǔ
処暑
shosho
처서 (處暑)
cheoseo
Xử thử Aug 23 lit. dwell in heat
165° white dew 白露
báilù
白露
hakuro
백로 (白露)
baekro
Bạch lộ Sep 8 condensed moisture makes dew white
180° autumnal equinox 秋分
qiūfēn
秋分
shūbun
추분 (秋分)
chubun
Thu phân Sep 23 lit. autumn division (or center)
195° cold dew 寒露
hánlù
寒露
kanro
한로 (寒露)
hallo
Hàn lộ Oct 8  
210° frost descent 霜降
shuāngjiàng
霜降
sōkō
상강 (霜降)
sanggang
Sương giáng Oct 23 appearance of frost and descent of temperature
225° start of winter 立冬
lìdōng
立冬
rittō
입동 (立冬)
ipdong
Lập đông Nov 7  
240° minor snow 小雪
xiǎoxuě
小雪
shōsetsu
소설 (小雪)
soseol
Tiểu tuyết Nov 22  
255° major snow 大雪
dàxuě
大雪
taisetsu
대설 (大雪)
daeseol
Đại tuyết Dec 7  
270° winter solstice 冬至
dōngzhì
冬至
tōji
동지 (冬至)
dongji
Đông chí Dec 22 lit. winter extreme (of sun's height)
285° minor cold 小寒
xiǎohán
小寒
shōkan
소한 (小寒)
sohan
Tiểu hàn Jan 6  
300° major cold 大寒
dàhán
大寒
daikan
대한 (大寒)
daehan
Đại hàn Jan 20

5 Comments Add yours

  1. cindee says:

    No sign of fall here. It was 113 on Friday and 106 here today. Although it felt a lot hotter then that. I am not sure if fall is on the forcast anytime soon.(-: I really like your new picture(-: Enjoy your fall planning(-:
    *** That is too hot!! But I did live in Arizona and remember that there were only two season–hot and less hot. It was not for me. Sounds like you got about the same there. We’ll have what’s called an Indian Summer in November when it will all of a sudden by 90 one day and 40 the next.

    Like

  2. Wanita says:

    Anna, I agree that fall is here. There is just something that, as you said, feels different. I do so love autumn, and every year I wish it would last longer than it does here in Minnesota.

    Thanks for your kind comments on my blog. Mom turned 90 yesterday. My sister called from the nursing home in Pennsylvania, and Mom and I spoke briefly. It’s difficult for her to talk on the phone, and she sounded very frail. I’m so thankful for the times I get to talk with her and for the in-person visits when we were in PA just a couple weeks ago.

    Blessings to you,
    Wanita
    *** You are so welcome for the comments because they are from my heart. I know how it is to go to the end with a parent. We celebrate those good days and work through the difficult ones. It is most troublesome to become the parent in their latter years. It was my toughest moment as a caretaker. So I very much understand the ups and downs. My mom was only 72 when she went home. Now that I’m 50, that seems young;)

    I did see some Autumn color today as I visited my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m only an hour away but I could tell the difference in the tree color change progress. And there were beautiful summer flowers in all the window boxes of the little town I visited. It’s a time when summer and the beginning of Autumn flirt with each other.

    Like

  3. Cndy says:

    What a fascinating post Anna! I think all along I have agreed with you and never even knew it until reading this post! For several weeks now I have been saying that it feels like Autumn is in the air and now I know that I have been right! Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed all of it.
    *** I would thank my great aunt and uncle but they passed way back in 1980. So 28 years later…I appreciate the info more than ever. I think Wiki just recently added the calendar information so I’m lucky there. I was going to have to hunt up old cherokee indian planting charts. I wouldn’t even know where to begin finding those. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    Like

  4. Cinj says:

    I wasn’t taught the things my family knew, but I had a lot of farmers in my family. I can tell that fall is here, but I wish I had learned what they had to teach me. My wild berries are starting to ripen. I sampled a few that turned black the other day. I noticed a couple more turned today. Hopefully nothing will take all of these like they ate my cherries. I’m thinking about making them into a face mask or something since I’m not sure if they’re poisonous or not.

    ** I am so grateful for all the info passed along to me. I wish I still had half what I’ve forgotten but that aunt of mine talked all the time. I should have written it down.

    I hope the berries potion turns out good. You sure don’t want a belly ache. Better to know if it’s edible.

    Like

  5. Jan says:

    I have already noticed that it is getting darker earlier and sunrise is a little later, so I can see your point about August starting fall. Down here with the temps still in the high 90’s, it is hard to think of anything but summer. My family always considered September 1st as the beginning of fall. Being farther South than you are, a month’s difference might be expected. Either way, autumn is my favorite time of year.

    Jan
    Always Growing

    **I could not be a Floridian or live as far south as you unless I could afford lots of caladiums like Meems @ Hoe and Shovel. Then it might be worth it–lol. I have to have seasons and Autumn is my favorite too. And I like at least one day of snow but that’s it. I don’t want to see it snow like when I lived in ND and it was on the ground from October to May—eeeek.

    Like

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