Fall: It’s fickle but still fabulous

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut

Welcome to fall in Tennessee.

The most fickle of all our four seasons, fall is like a hummingbird. It flits forward, dips backward, always just inches away from the sweet nectar of its heart’s desire. Even when the tiny fairy-bird stops to drink, it is never still, just as our most beautiful days of fall seem to speed by us.

A You-Tube video has been circulating this week that describes fall in the South. The autumn-loving woman wakes with her window open and sunlight streaming in. She pulls out her scarves, jackets, pumpkin candles and sweeps away the sights of summer for the set-ups of fall.

As she happily throws open the door, sweltering heat smacks her in the face as her hair wilts, her scarf is used to wipe the sweat-covered brow, and two men in shorts and T-shirts look at her in wonder.

Many of us say one of the reasons we love living in Tennessee is because we have four distinct seasons. We do, but those seasons don’t always pay attention to our readiness for the next to arrive or to the calendar. Pity the poor meteorologists who try to extol the importance of the first day of fall while announcing highs in the 80s!

But it will come. The sky will turn Carolina blue, the leaves will burst with color, and my husband’s Bermuda grass lawn will turn to straw. The days will become what can only be described – no matter how trite – as “crisp.”

A late November view from Carolyn Forster’s home in Blount County.

Fall is a glorious time in Tennessee. As a child, it marked a time of preparation and harvest. We were canners and freezers, filling our pantries and freezers with everything the garden would yield. All summer we would slice fresh vegetables for the next meal and shell up a mess of beans or peas for dinner. Come fall, however, produce began arriving by the bushels instead of pecks. The counter top in our kitchen would be covered with clean cotton towels where peas and beans would be spread out to cool before going into bags for the freezer.

Fall is family time, which is probably what I love most about the season. Whether it’s football, soccer or just hoverboarding in the cul-de-sac, the activities of fall encourage a gathering of friends and family. Just as Game Days get intense, Halloween rolls in for frivolous fun, and then Thanksgiving gathers us together to remind us what life is all about.

And it all happens under the glorious spirit of fall. No wonder we are impatient and tire of the teasing! Anticipation is rooted in our memories of the hot days of summer melting away, replaced by the offerings of her gentler, if fickle, brother.

Big daddy winter is still sleeping, so there is time. Wait for it. Fall is coming!


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