Wednesday, October 13, 2010

AUTUMN, by Mina Anne Chudilowsky

People say that we have no seasons in Southern California. Fall colors occur in the Sierras and along Highway 395. Up the coast, you see migrating birds, Monarch butterflies traveling south, apple orchards, and pumpkin fields. We also have migrating birds  especially the Canada Geese. We have migrating grey whales, and the Monarchs pass through.

Many people have planted liquid amber trees that turn bright red, orange or yellow, and they are beautiful. They are abundant around the Lakewood Mall and City Hall. There are also many deciduous trees around. Candlewood Street is lined with huge sycamore trees and giant leaves fill the lawns and streets.

In autumn, the days grow shorter and the air is crystal clear and sharp. You can see the mountains that surround us, and the breezes that blow through refresh everything.The nights start to get colder and the flannel sheets, blankets, comforters and quilts come out and go back on the beds. The smell of wood smoke wafts through the air as people start using their fireplaces and wood burning stoves. You smell dust when you finally turn the furnace on.

The nights sparkle with stars and the harvest moon returns, and Indian summer may make an appearance. Sweaters, jackets, sweats and hats make their appearance, but the people, being Californians, hesitate to put away their shorts.

Autumn is a time of smells and tastes. Spices come to mind: oatmeal cookies baking on a cool afternoon. Or gingerbread. Or pumpkin pie. Homemade soups, stews and chili are great meals on cool evenings. You trade in cool drinks for warm drinks. Cocoa, tea and spiced cider taste so good at this time of year. And cinnamon-spiced pine cones appear in the stores to scent your house.

As the days grow shorter, you tend to burrow into your nest and remain there until the sun comes out again, and the sun seems more brilliant.

It’s fun to drive to Julian or Oak Glen to visit the orchards and get juicy, crisp apples or cider. Pears, tangerines, pomegranates and tangelos appear in the stores as do Indian corn, pumpkins, candy corn and new crop nuts.

Spiders make their presence known by their large webs. You have to wave a stick in front of you (or walk behind someone else) to prevent walking into the webs and the spiders.

People who have lived where it snows and the trees bud out in the spring and turn into magnificent colors in the fall say that we have no autumn in Southern California. We have that season too. It’s just more subtle and you have to pay attention to see and enjoy it.


  1. The last sentence says it all. We just have to pay more attention! Thank you, Mina, for noticing so many subtleties and helping us to see them as well.

  2. Dear Mina, Thank you for the California Autumn Tour- it inspires me to pay more attention to the subtleties.

  3. this is such an awesome description of Autumn in So-Cal. I agree we do need to pay more attention.

  4. Well done Mina -a beautiful depiction of Autumn in So.California. At the moment our Autumn looks more like mid summer with our 90 degree heat. Having lived in freezing climates, I'll take it and our subtle Autumns as well!