Now that’s what I call autumn. Or fall.

I always loved autumnfall when I was a kid. Little Sis, The Cousins and I would regularly get taken to Delamere Forest by our grandparents to pick up chestnuts and pine cones from the forest floor, and tear about like loons to run off excess energy. More importantly, we got to eat our grandmother’s chicken soup, the taste of which still lingers to this day, regularly infuriating me that I can’t recreate it. I can only assume that the secret ingredient was nicotine or, say, crack cocaine, such was the soup’s addictive qualities.

Part of the joy of autumnfall was the low strong seasonal sun, and the crisp but not too cold weather that always alerted me to the fact that my birthday and the festive season were just around the corner. Don’t get me wrong, I loved spending time with my grandparents, but the fact that I might soon be getting some new Lego or a new music compilation cassette was far more important at the stage in my life.

But ever since those early days, I’ve always loved that in-between weather – the times when it’s not too cold and not too hot, and everything’s changing from green to brown or vice-versa. I may not be able to have the chicken soup any more, but I’ll take a British autumn day over Now That’s What I Call Music 74 any time.

Last week, as I headed home on the subway, the N train on which I was travelling emerged from a tunnel out onto the Manhattan Bridge, giving me a striking view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the stretch of water down towards the Statue of Liberty. The low sun shone majestically off the East River, casting an ethereal glow over South Street Seaport and the bridge. The particular shade of light could mean only one thing – autumnfall had arrived at last.

Instead, this weekend, we turned the heating on and pulled out the thick coats. It seems that in the north east of the United States, two or three days is plenty enough of autumnfall, and it’s time to get ready for winter. Sure, there might be the occasional balmy day to look forward to, but other than that, it’s snow, ice and soul-chilling winds all the way.

Whatever happened to traditional seasons that lasted for a few months rather than a few days? I can only assume that the credit crunch has hit New York so hard that it can no longer afford to pay its bills, and we’ve duly had our sun taken away by bailiffs. Maybe if we all club together we can have it turned on again by February?

In the meantime, I’m getting the blankets out of the attic.

11 thoughts on “Now that’s what I call autumn. Or fall.

  1. Silverback

    Much as I enjoyed the English autumnal colours of……emm….autumn, I love the warmth and sunshine of Florida better.

    Your description of your train trip past the Brooklyn Bridge did sound wonderful – I must get to NYC some time.

  2. IanB

    Ah, fa…I mean autumn is my favourite month for things like the pastel colours and clear not-too-cold-not-too-muggy air but then as it turns just that bit more rainy, grey (you remember the greyness of blighty?) and chilly I yearn again for summer evenings.

    The chicken soup probably had the same secret ingredient as Pringles and I think you’re right – clearly it’s some form of crack cocaine.

  3. Brooklyn

    We have another trans-Atlantic definitional divide here. This is the real Autumn in NYC I remember from my childhood.

    Crisp weather, bracing in the shade, mild but not warm in the Sun, the Sun more white than yellow.

    Remember, Winter here means 32F/0C.

  4. Mike

    I also love autumn. Your description of your train ride, its compression and release, hit the mark. It’s all about the light. I don’t like that the season escorts in the death of summer but there are so many other redeeming factors, chicken soup being one of them.

    On an unrelated item, did you see that on Friday Levi Stubbs passed away? Another Motown icon gone.

  5. Expat Mum

    Well I’m afraid I can appreciate the colours but that’a about all. Impending frost bite is all I can think of.
    We got the winter duvets out on Sunday, and I have to get the hats and gloves out in the next few days. Brrr.

  6. Karen

    Beautiful description of your train journey. Made me quite jealous 🙂
    (no trains in Iceland)

    It’s already winter here, the last leaves have fallen and the snow and ice are arriving tomorrow 😉

  7. Jan

    I also love autumn and spring, and I can understand your being so moved by the autumn light. Here in Oklahoma, the early morning and early evening light is just spectacular at this time of year. The skies are also a deep denim blue, instead of the stonewashed look we get in summer. Sorry to wax so lyrical, but you started it. 🙂

  8. Mr Potarto

    If you get a chance, the Palisades look amazing from the Hudson Line train at the moment, especially before 8.00am. The trees are beginning to turn and are various shades of green, brown and red, and the Palisades cliffs are a gorgeous shade of orange in the morning light.

    I tried driving over for a photo at the weekend, but by 9.00am, the light was different and it didn’t have the same appeal.

  9. that Girl39

    Seasons?!? Don’t even get me started on those! Just when I thought autumn had arrived and pulled on the opaque tights (sorry – girly fashion thing!) the sun came back out and had me and Small Child slathering on factor 50 whilst feeding the ducks!).
    So.. I embraced the whole indian summer vibe only to be forced into submission last week when I finally gave into the urge to turn on the central heating due to numb typing fingers whilst working from home!
    But.. that said.. its my favourite time of year as thats when myself and Other Half got together. All the sights, smells and just that something in the air bring back tons of happy memories!

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