29 September 2010

This Time of Year



I don't really *do* "Fall decor."  I don't change my color schemes or put brown leaves and things all over my house.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not *me*.

Mostly, it's because Fall in central Texas doesn't mean the same thing as it does to the rest of the country.  None of the regular four seasons do - green Spring, bright Summer, red Fall, snowy Winter...not so much.  We have two seasons:  Hot and Christmas.  In my neck of the woods there's barely even any foliage turn - instead of reds and golds and browns and everything in between, most of our trees go directly from green to dead near the end of October.   Decorating with brown leaves and pumpkins and stuff never seemed to jive with the Fall that I actually experience...it's pretty, but it feels a bit alien, like borrowing traditions based on a natural cycle I've read about in books but never experienced firsthand, so there's no personal meaning in them for me.

ripe seedheads of Cosmos flowers

Fall is more of a Second Spring around here:  vegetables and flowering things put on a vigorous last show. Live Oak trees, which are green year round, grow a new set of leaves for the season and shed the old - the trees look like Spring and Fall at the same time for a couple of weeks while they change, which is really, really neat.  And people take to the streets and parks in droves, trying to squeeze out a few last weeks of enjoyment before the sticking, seeping, gray mess that is Winter sets in.  Bleh. Winter here sucks.

Sweet Autumn Clematis (C. ternifolia) going to seed in September

 So, Fall "decorating," for me, is more of a feel thing.  The season itself is a rejuvenation, a siesta between extremes, though heavily laden with a sense of expectation and excitement that Spring doesn't carry.  This is the time of the year I throw the windows open every chance I get, to air out a house that's been shut tight and shaded against the heat for 7-9 months .  The sheer curtains billow in the breeze (which is why I love them so much), and I have incense and candles going nonstop to scent and freshen and cleanse the house.  And bread baking.  Mmm, homemade bread.

last year's Lavender harvest

One thing I do enjoy in the Fall is bringing that sense of getting back outside for the last few weeks that I'm able to, into the house.  I cut flowering branches from the bushes in my backyard, and herbs from my garden, and scatter them in vases all over the house.  I cut Lavender and Rosemary and Basil to scent drawers and closets (and my truck, tee-hee), and spend as much time as possible on my back porch, separating flowers and seeds and leaves to dry and bring in for my spice and herb collections. 

the amazing flowers of my Mexican Orchid Tree (Bauhinia mexicana)


I guess really, Fall, for me, is not just about bringing the outdoors in, but also going outside.  :)


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2 comments:

  1. Never having lived that far south, I had no idea. Fall out here isn't as pretty as what we're used to, but I find it comforting to plan for fall decor (mostly outdoors)--my home is already awash in earth colors and orange, LOL!

    I throw open the windows at the frst sign of thaw. I've never seen a green spring here. :)

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  2. I love the winters here. It's the luscious, hydrating break between the unbearable heat. I live for the precious few weeks we have of grey, drizzly, cool weather. Now...Cleveland...winter SUCKED there. For real.

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