Dug Joy, Guest Contributor

A Pause On The Prairie For Autumn

prairie-autumnI went looking for my golf ball in the middle of the fairway, but couldn’t find it.

The grass is still green, but the leaves on the ground – in an ever growing abundance of colour and number – frustrate a golfer, causing the same anxiety as a fading slice into the forest.

It’s Fall on the prairies.

Overhead, the familiar V shape of the honking Canada Goose in large numbers – and the direction they are heading – become a natural compass pointing south, en route to the same destination many of us plan winter getaways to.

They fly the friendly sky earlier, and for free.

In a climate where you see the change of the season so vividly, autumn comes to the prairies in waves with a fading summer. Air conditioners that hummed through the day become silent, only to be restarted again during an unexpected hot spell that never seems to last long enough. September is the month when wearing shorts outside in the morning is too little, but pants in the afternoon are optional. Jackets get put on for the first time, only to be tied at the waist walking home in the afternoon.

There’s a sense of saying farewell to something every day, and a caution of expecting something that is not far off. Our “to do” list changes like the season, with tasks added that we know need to be done, but autumn gives us the chance to carry the task for a while, starting them at the “C” list level and providing us weeks before it reaches “A” list status.

And the smells of the season…

What was once a fresh, clean and dewy scent now seems to slip into a heavy, rustic odor. A brisk night can find you catching a whiff of chimney smoke, making it seem like a brand new experience to the senses all over again.

Then there is the distinct smell of a burning stubble crop in fields of the farm. It’s different than a camp fire. Not the same as a neighbor burning leaves. Though many kilometres away, the sweet scent gets carried by wind gusts, creating an uncanny nostalgic feeling and giving you a true sense of the time of year.

For many on the prairies, Fall is the favorite season of the four. We don’t look forward to it like the first fast melt of spring, or the first hot day of summer when windows are cracked open in the house, and there is no guessing to which day the first winter snowfall will stay on the ground. Autumn just kind of leisurely strolls its way into the days and saunters off again much the same way.

Many on the prairies still take delight in the superstitious activity passed down from generation to generation; Catching falling leaves in autumn brings good luck! Every leaf caught brings a lucky month next year.

Welcome to the Autumnal equinox!

****This is all bullshit. We’re all very depressed on the prairies come fall time. ****

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