Thursday, March 21, 2013


It's a funny old word. I was thinking this just the other day when admiring a beautiful Melbourne Autumn day. It was about 25C, bright blue skies and hardly any wind. We have had an unseasonably hot start to Autumn this year with a host of days in the 30's at the start of March. But then it suddenly broke and we've been treated to absolutely glorious weather, with the odd bit of madness such as the squall that blew through Melbourne this afternoon bringing high winds and rain.

New England in the Fall (prairiecoach)
To be honest, Autumn is my favourite season in Melbourne (it was spring when I lived in the UK). There is a freshness to the climate which no doubt has something to do with the drop in temperatures after our fierce summers. It is a relief to be over with the 35C+ temps and even 30C+ temps continually can become tiring after a sustained period. But Autumn is also a colourful month for flora, and there can be some breathtaking sunsets in Autumn.

I have vivid memories of a road trip that I undertook with Caroline to see New England in the fall. We drove from New York to Boston along the coast and then headed through the White Mountains and up to Montreal. We came back down through Adirondack country to New York.We did this about 10 years ago and I still have amazing memories, even though the locals kept telling us the colours weren't fully out yet! You can also get some pretty spectacular scenery in Australia in autumn. I've been to the Grampians and the Southern Alps in Autumn and was pretty impressed.

Bright in Victoria living up to it name (Australiaimg)

But as I said, autumn is a funny old word. It is old, stemming from Old French. Funnily enough, Americans use the term Fall instead of Autumn and this is also derived from the "olde worlde", though this time Germanic languages, possibly Norse. It was commonly used in England, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, and that is when emigration to the USA was at it's peak. So those early English settlers took the word Fall with them to the USA where it has remained in use, while England changed to the more European Autumn.

While Autumn is the oddest looking of the words for the seasons, it is by no means the oldest. Surprisingly, that goes to Summer, which can trace it's origins back about 6000 years! There's loads of interesting facts about the names of the seasons and other things on this site. I'm going to stop wondering how words came to be used for things and start getting out and enjoying the beauty of Autumn/Fall in Melbourne! Here's a bit of Vivaldi to celebrate Autumn.

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