Autumn and The Canon

 Culture, Fun Stuff, Music  Comments Off on Autumn and The Canon
Oct 042010

Many people prefer Spring, but I prefer Autumn. As said by Albert Camus, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower.” Here are two of my most favorite things…beautiful Autumn scenes set to Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

We did have a cool night last Thursday night, but not many other signs of Autumn here in Florida. As an Appalachian State University Alum, I know a thing or two about a beautiful Fall. Even down the mountain in Kings Mountain, it’s still a beautiful time of the year.

Nowadays a truck comes back and vacuums up your leaves, but I remember raking huge piles and running to jump in them, and then smell throughout town on late Saturday evenings as people burned their leaves. Maybe it wasn’t the most environmentally friendly thing, but that was a great smell.

Like everyone else, I probably think of going back to school more fondly now than I did back then. But it was fun to get back to a routine, and see friends again. There was marching band practice and Friday night football games in high school, and in college that south end of the Stadium at ASU ablaze in color, and that crispness in the air, and the ASU Band marching up Stadium Drive into the stadium.

I sure miss those times. Stanley Horowitz wrote, “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” As goes the old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

What is your favorite season of the year? (I'll let you pick up to two)

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Favorite Season

 Featured, General, Kings Mountain, Places, Tampa  Comments Off on Favorite Season
Sep 302009
Blue Ridge Parkway Viaduct

Blue Ridge Parkway Viaduct

OK, I know that about this time every year I write something about Autumn being my favorite time of year. I know, Tampa, FL is not the place to be thinking about Autumn. I think we get our Autumn here in January, the time of year when these nasty live oaks dump a big portion of their leaves. Still, there is a rhythm that comes with the seasons no matter where one lives, and I love this time of year for the sense of “settling-in.”

There is always the hold-over of the school cycle when students and school employees all head back to their routines. The Summer vacation season is mostly over, and people start getting back into regular routines. With grandparents who were a farm family, I’m familiar with that time of year when the cash crops and the garden vegetables are all “coming in.” Lots of picking and canning going on.

A cool front has come through to help me at least pretend Fall has arrived here in Tampa (at least for a couple days).

Then, if one lives in the right region, there are the colors of Fall. The Piedmont North Carolina region where I grew up can boast of a beautiful Fall, but nothing compares with the Appalachian Mountains for a spectacular display. I do miss not being able to get to the mountains more.

The huge old oaks around Mom's

Fall Colors in Shelby, N.C.

Here’s a poll asking about your favorite season of the year.

What is your favorite season of the year?

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The Four Seasons of Florida

 General, Humor, Places, Tampa  Comments Off on The Four Seasons of Florida
Jun 012006

I have to start this post with a disclaimer. I was raised to be respectful for and appreciative of nature. I was boy scout and loved camping, and my grandfather was a farmer. However, I’m coming to hate these Live Oak trees we have here in Tampa. They are not all that lush and green; the leaves never seem to rot; and they drop stuff the entire year.

People here get way to worked up about these things. You can’t cut them down or have them removed. When I first bought this house, the neighbor had a pretty big oak in her front yard that had been hit by lightening twice. I was dead as a door nail. There was not a single green leaf anywhere on that tree, but she had to pay an arborist to declare the tree dead so that it could be cut down.

That leads me to the four seasons of Florida. Three of them are related the Live Oaks. Around January and especially February is Autumn. This is the season in which most of the leaves drop off and are replaced. (Although live oaks drop leaves continuously to lesser degree.)

There, in May is limb dropping season. I’ve never seen this anywhere but here. The live oaks drop small limbs covered with leaves (so they’re not dead). I don’t know what that’s all about.

Season three in Florida just started today. That’s hurricane season, and it runs until the end of November officially, but last year we had a tropical storm in both December and January.

Season four is around November and December. That’s when the live oaks drop a million little sticks.

So there you have it. The four seasons we experience here in Florida.

Fond Memories Of My Favorite Season

 General, Weather  Comments Off on Fond Memories Of My Favorite Season
Oct 092005

Autumn has officially arrived. As usual it’s a little hard to tell here in Tampa. However, we got a couple of overcast rainy days this past week. That made it a little cooler, and made me think of Fall.

I think autumn is my favorite time of year. Coming from the western part of North Carolina, and having gone to college at Appalachian State University in the northwest corner of the corner, I have seen some beautiful shows of fall colors. I have literally had my breath taken away while driving up the mountains to Boone and Blowing Rock returning to school, or looking off some of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As stunning as the colors are, I think its much of the other things about this time of year that appeal to me. My mom was the school system nurse for thirty plus years in my home town, and at one point in my life, I worked for a few years as a representative for a yearbook publishing company. So for many years, that “school schedule” was an important part of life. It is a time of settling in and getting back to routine.

My granddaddy was a cotton farmer, so the cotton would be coming in, and my mom and grandmother would be “putting up” corn, green beans, and vegetable soup. I remember a few early Saturday mornings going with Granddaddy to the cotton gin. I’d dig a hole in the cotton in the front corner of the trailer, and off we’d go with the big red Farmall tractor chugging along down the road. And that old cotton gin was an amazing place for me. I especially love the big vacuum tube that sucked the cotton out of the trailer.

Even now I feel like the business environment changes around this time of year. People sort of get serious again, and start paying more attention. Vacations are over, budget time starts, and you’re in the last quarter of the year.

The days start getting shorter and the mornings a bit cooler (even here in Florida sometimes). Back in my hometown you’d step out in the evenings and often catch the smell of burning leaves. People outside the city limits raked their leaves to the side of the road, and burned them. Football season goes into full swing. I was in the band, so each Friday night was a big deal during high school. And there’s nothing more beautiful than the big mountain covered with hardwoods rising above the end of the stadium at ASU draped in Fall colors.

Even when I was in college I was a resident assistant in a freshman dormitory, so not only was it a time for me to start back to school, it was the time to help thirty plus freshmen get off to a good start at college, and experience all the excitement of meeting new people.

So fall is a time that brings back lots of nice memories for me. Part is that agrarian attitude of brining in the crops and preparing for winter; part is that getting back to school with friends and routine; and a lot is the beauty that I know is so much a part of fall in North Carolina. I can see it in my mind, even here in Tampa.