Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Fall is Afoot

my life in appalachia - fall is afoot

I sense fall is afoot even though the days are still burning hot and there’s still plenty of green to go around.

I love all the seasons equally.

I love the first blush of green as it creeps along the mountains in the spring; the feel of the hot summer sun on my face and shoulders as I work in the garden listening to the jar flies buzz; the crunch of leaves as I walk back up the hill from Pap and Granny’s in the fall of the year; and the camaraderie of sitting by the stove in winter hoping for snow.

The time of the year I’m least fond of is the dying of summer.

I dislike the green when it takes on a dull brown around its edges and I feel oppressed by the wild tangle of overgrowth that fills in all the empty spaces.

I sense fall is afoot even though the days are still burning hot and there’s still plenty of green to go around.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    September 11, 2016 at 8:23 am

    When Superstorm Sandy moved across New England at the end of September, we had snow flurries in the high country the next day. This year, after Hermine passed us by, it was down to 51 the next morning. Summer had been swept away in a flash, and we knew that Fall had begun. The Sumac along the roads is red, and other roadside bushes are red and yellow. A mist rises from the ponds at sunrise, and the Hummingbirds are much less aggressive toward one another. Even the Whipperwills are less amorous. The corn has turned brown in the fields. Ready or not, Fall has arrived.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2016 at 9:18 am

    The “tropical drought” is continuing in my neck of the woods. We had a short, heavy rainfall the other night, and when I heard it I honestly thought for a moment that the dishwasher had started up by itself – that’s how long it’s been since I heard rain on the roof. And yesterday was so hot and steamy I had to break down and turn the A/C on so I could get some work done in the house. Not complaining, but also thinking Autumn will be a relief if and when it arrives.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 9, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Indeed it is, and I take joy in it. Going are the days of salads and sandwiches which we’ve rapidly become tired of. Arriving are the days of soups, hot casseroles and roasted meats which we don’t do in the summer’s heat.
    And with the lingering heat of Indian Summer, I’ve noticed the lingering of beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds. They too shall be leaving us soon, as the hush of fall and winter descends upon us.
    Prayers for a great weekend for everyone, and a safe one too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Even though it’s still blistering hot the evenings have a different feel to them, I actually seen the leaves of a black gum tree turning color the other day, that’s usually one of the first to turn color here.. I cast my vote for cooler weather and no snow or ice.. 😉

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 9, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    If Fall is afoot could it also be at hand? In other words do trees in Appalachia get “Afoot and At hand” symptoms this time of year? Just ponderin’!
    I love Chuck Howell’s poem by the way!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    September 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    This is regarding B Ruth and Miss Cindy’s comments. Blind Pig is only ‘one’ I haven’t complained to about the Poplar trees on my property. They are DROPPING ‘something’ year-round; tassels, flowers, sap, and leaves.! If they didn’t drop on my house, patio, and driveway maybe wouldn’t matter!? What a mess..
    The cool summer nights haven’t happened this year in E TN either. Like Miss Cindy, we never had to worry much about the heart of the day as it cooled down every night in WNC mts and the older family members had to wear sweaters to sit on the porch at night. Sleeping was no problem w/ no air cond as it was wonderfully cool every night. Neighbors around me say its NEVER in their lives been this HOT here! It sure has been rough on me as weeds took over, except few I could pull at night! If still here, my Granny would tell me off pretty fast tho, saying its a sin to complain about the weather.
    Lee in KP,TN

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I’m glad to see Summer about to be gone. I love Winter the best of all, but the months it’s sandwiched between are good too. I had a friend that just loved Summertime, but he wouldn’t weigh 95 pounds soaking wet. That little booger had more spunk than anyone I ever been around, was always doing something in his garden soon as it got daylight enough to see. He was 94 when he died. One evening he was eating supper with me as he did about 3 or 4 times a week, and I ask him if longevity ran in his family. He told me his daddy died at 52, but they found his mama in the garden and she was just 96. …Ken

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    September 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Asheville town, Asheville town
    I’m going back to Asheville town
    I’ll sit & watch the leaves turn brown
    Back in Asheville town
    Sittin on that Ol porch swing
    Hear that Mountain Banjo ring
    a hundred songs I’m gonna sing
    Back in Asheville town
    I can smell the collard greens
    Cornbread & Butter beans
    Prettiest Gals you’ve ever seen
    Back in Asheville town
    I’ll watch that French Broad river flow
    Where life is easy, life is slow
    Ain’t no place I’d rather go
    Back in Asheville town
    Asheville town’s been good to me
    Your spirit’s wild, your spirit’s free
    Ain’t no place I’d rather be
    Back in Asheville town
    Asheville’s Cool, Asheville’s clean
    Prettiest town I’ve ever seen
    I’ll sit & watch the leaves turn Green
    Back in Asheville town.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 9, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Nothing is sweeter than Fall in the mountains, unless perhaps Spring

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    September 9, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I love fall.Something just seems to be in my bones.It’s time to go hunting.If any of you out there are hunters,you know what i’m talking about

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 9, 2016 at 9:30 am

    My mature Poplar trees have been aborting leaves since late July and August. They turn yellow, brown, curl and fall. This is due to the extreme drought. However, I understand that this is also normal for sustained growth trees, that is they are constantly putting on new leaves. So, when conditions are not to their liking, they begin to abort their extra leaves. I notice that this year the abortion started a bit early. Other trees, small ones in my yard and woodland are also dropping leaves. Not much color. so that tells me it is the drought likely the cause. The days are getting shorter and the nights a bit cooler but not here to the extent of calling it an early Fall that signals the change of color and leaf fall!
    An ecologist friend of ours tells me that a mature Poplar or Oak needs a minimum of 40 gallons of water a day for sustained growth. I doubt that one large, mature Poplar in our yard has received a gallon of water either ground or from the short dry showers we had a few weeks ago.
    I am noticing on the slant sides of the hills on our place, where the trees are on the edge of it, the tall sides of some of our Oaks have dead and dying limbs. Skeery to say the least! This weakens the trees to disease and insect infestation. Can you tell I love, love my little mountain of trees!
    I just hope we have rain and some more rain to save the Fall color and to keep our trees from losing limbs due to drought!
    Yes, even with the drought, Fall is beginning to show it’s face. Ripening Scuppernongs and Muscadine’s. Poke berries are ripening to their dark purple color. A few drought tolerant fall wild flowers are beginning to bloom. Even with the extreme heat, a neighbor thought it necessary to burn off a portion of garden and field this early, along with a few dead limbs….the aroma was of Fall was in the air! The smell made me want to run in the house for wieners and marshmallows! Ha
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 9, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I am so ready for Fall. It’s been such a hot wet summer here that it’s been miserable to be outside much. We are seeing some change in the maple leaves up high in the trees just in the past few days and the mornings are almost cool! I’m trying to remember Mama’s old saying about no more hot nights after August 10 or 12 but it hasn’t happened this year.
    We had friends up from Alabama over the Labor Day weekend & tried to see Loretta Lynn at Hurricane Mills but she had fallen and couldn’t perform. It was one of the cooler days we’ve had and we had a good time anyway, especially going through the museum there and getting to be with our friends.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 8:51 am

    The above photograph is just so perfect. You captured a peaceful path of Mother Nature. I, too, enjoy the seasons, and I find spring my favorite when new life begins. The fall colors are beautiful and make me realize it is time to give Mother Nature a time to rest and re-energize.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    September 9, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Fall is when mother nature plants for next year. It all has to die or rest to grow when spring and summer come back around.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 9, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Yep, it just feels like it ought to be and is beginning to be fall. I worked with an old hill man many years ago and along about now he would talk about the “farewell-to-summer” blooming. I never was entirely sure just which plants he meant but I think it was asters but there are several candidates.
    I agree that the dying of summer is melancholy in some indefinable way. I think part of it is a sense of lost opportunity and/or things hoped for that never quite came to be. It seems it is a time that somehow reminds us there is no going back to reclaim lost youth or unsay things people misunderstood or ‘improve the shining hour’ with more sympathy or empathy.
    But now is the time for grapes, muscadines, apples, winter squash, pumpkins, walnuts, pecans, hickory nuts and pawpaws. So the things we look forward to redeems the loss.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I feel the fall more than I see it. It’s in the slight cooling at night. The slight let up in the daytime heat. It reminds me of past years. Here in the mountains, when I was young, it was always cool at night no matter how hot it got during the day. We always slept with a blanket, even through the summer.
    Visitors to the mountains always brought jackets and sweaters to wear against the chill in the evening. Fall reminds me of long ago summers.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    September 9, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I don’t know if anyone else senses the difference in the air but it seems like the day after Labor Day things smell different and sound different. Especially at night when i walk the dog about 10:00. It just smells and sounds like Fall.

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