"Behold congenial Autumn comes,
the Sabbath of the Year."
- John Logan (1748 - 1788)


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Autumn: When the Leaves Fall

Autumn begins with the autumnal equinox (September 22, most years). The equinox is the point at which the sun is directly over the equator. From this point throughout the season, the pole is beginning to point away from the sun. The hemisphere is getting more night hours than daylight and this has a cooling effect. Autumn lasts for 89.84 days.

A Tree in Autumn

At this time of year many plants are genetically programmed to produce fruits and seeds. This makes autumn the harvest time for many traditional crops. In temperate climates, the first frost occurs during this season and the cooling air brings on thoughts of certain fall sports such as football and soccer (or gridiron and football - depending on your location).

Although the autumnal equinox occurs deep into September, for most purposes, including meteorology, autumn is thought to encompass the months of September, October, and November in the northern half of the world, and March, April, and May in the southern half.

Fall is frequently a time for harvest festivals, thanksgivings, and similar holidays associated with food production and consumption. Like the other seasons it has an image in literature. Autumn is seen as the time of plenty, a time for hard work, a time when we wistfully watch the year fade into winter. Summer vacations are at an end and students return to school. Songs of autumn abound, including a long list of popular music1. The poets who have sung its praises include, William Blake, Robert Louis Stevenson and Lucy Maud Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables). Montgomery wrote a particularly evocative poem called An Autumn Evening.

Yet autumn has supernatural associations. Halloween is thought of as a fun though scary holiday. It is especially so at the end of the fall season when most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and the branches rattle like old bare bones.

Next Page: Winter

  1. UGO Top Songs About Autumn