September 22 at 10:29 pm (EDT) is the autumnal equinox, the official beginning of fall, even though in many places it’s been quite chilly this past week. I was even wearing a wool wrap in NYC at night last weekend!

So do you really like fall? Really? I know I’m in the minority, but fall is my least favorite season. I don’t like summer to end! Cold in the mornings, nights, and shadows, but kinda warm in the sun midday, I never know how to dress! Layers, I know, but I never seem to have the right layers. I like to wear bathing suits! Either way, whether I like it or not, fall happens so let’s get some clarity on this confusing season’s etymology.


The signs of fall are a little more subtle in Florida. One is crepe myrtle leaves starting to turn and make berries.

Fall or Autumn?

I did a little research as to why this uncomfortable season gets more confusing by having two names, and there is no really good reason! As far back as the 12 century, fall was referred to as harvest. This makes sense because it is a big harvesting time of year. Around the end of 15th century the French word autompne was borrowed by the English and autumn replaced harvest.

The term autumn didn’t last long and in the 16th century the phrases “spring of the leaf” and “fall of the leaf” gained popularity as descriptors of the seasons between winter and summer. Over the next hundred years, they were shortened to the spring and fall we commonly use today. These names also make sense because, like harvest, they describe what is going on in the natural world. Why autumn stuck around (being more popular in England) even though it doesn’t describe seasonal changes, while fall took the lead seems to be a mystery.


Fig leaves getting rust and falling is another sure sign.‘s autumn definition: “Autumn is the season after summer, when leaves fall from trees. It’s also the season when the days get shorter and colder, and everything turns brown and drab, but people like it anyway, for the cocoa and cider, probably.” I like that one, vague and funny! I think I can get on board with this because you know I like chocolate!

People like things to switch up and fall means new fashion, new foods, and a new look in nature. So even if I don’t like it, I have to admit, I sure do like to plant and eat broccoli, kale, and other cool weather crops!

What do you like most about fall…or do you say autumn?

Share in the comments and help me like it more!! 

Share your autumnal equinox pics on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder

Seeds to Sprout:

Need some cash to plant your fall garden? Check out this Jamba Juice and NGA grant for $1500 or $500 award packages!! This grant is open to schools, nonprofits, and community organizations. The deadline is 10/1/14.

Montessori teachers do it in formal lessons, but why is it important to teach children about etmyology and word origins?

Have fun with fall color in the garden!  In case you missed it, check out this guest post and lesson plan I wrote for Community Playthings’ blog this week!


And at my house, when the bird of paradise blooms it remind me that fall in the near subtropics can’t be but so bad! 


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