and all at once--
right in the middle of Fall.
from In the Middle of Fall
written by Kevin Henkes
illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Greenwillow Books / HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017
This morning as I type, a leafstorm cascades outside my kitchen window. I plan an afternoon walk to the library. The sun is bright, the wind is calm, the air is dry. A perfect Indian Summer day. Wait, what? Is it still acceptable to call this weather that?
Turns out, not really. Since November, 2020, when the American Meteorological Society renamed this unseasonably warm weather Second Summer, that has become its most accepted name.
No one knows the real origin of the term Indian Summer. Some say it is an Algonquin term supporting a belief that the “great spirit” Cautantowwit, a southwestern god, gifted the People with a warm wind from his court. Some say it originated in New England when Indigenous people gathered their harvest and prepared for Winter.
Another explanation says this short time in late October or early November was named Indian Summer because when the cold took hold, European settlers took a respite from Indian attacks. When the inevitable warm spell returned, Native People, sometimes violently, reminded the settlers that before they arrived, Indigenous People lived on the land.
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, timing is crucial. A true Second Summer falls between the parentheses of very cool days, even a hard frost, and the first snowfall. And even more precisely, between November 11 and November 20 in any given year.
Cultures evolve by naming and re-naming.
During this unseasonably warm Second Summer day in Northeastern Ohio, I’ll take my own short respite to take advantage of another gorgeous day.
-—be curious! (and celebrate Autumn, in all its beauty!)