The season I love most is autumn. Or at least it used to be. Growing up in New York, I enjoyed the splendor of nature as green changed to red, gold, and rust. Summer humidity waned and the air breathed a crispness that signaled a change of season. The rain was cold and days grew short. Sidewalks and yards were laden with leaves that formed a patchwork quilt of colors over the dormant lawns. Cable knit sweaters, scarves and boots came out of the closet. Cozy throws emerged from blanket chests and chimneys began to smoke. Jewel toned mums decorated front porches. Scarecrows and pumpkins lurked on the steps and felt the first frost of winter.
Southern California autumn makes a quiet entrance. The trees do not put on a show here. Nights are cooler but the daytime heat continues. Mums, pumpkins and fancy gourds make their appearance to mark the seasonal change, but without these reminders I might think it is still summer.
I like to give my yard a little nudge during this subtle California season. Pumpkins piled into the fountain and warm toned mums help to coax a fall feeling into the landscape. The gargoyles come out to play and Claude, of course, dresses for the occasion.
The magnificent colors of the Hudson River Valley in autumn cannot be duplicated here, but I am thankful that the memory of seasons past is still vivid in my mind.