September is firmly in place with all the changes it brings. Children are settled into their new classes by now and when a sunny, warm day comes along we treasure it because we know we won’t get many more before we’ll be able to see our breath on our morning walks. It also won’t be long until Starbucks brings back their pumpkin spiced lattes and kids (and their parents alike) will be thinking about Halloween costumes. In my day---don’t you just love saying that---“In my day”? I do. It makes me feel silly, like I’m lapping up one of the few perks that comes with getting old; I’m schooling the ‘youngins’ about the good old days when we had to walk up hill to and from school and when if we missed an episode of our favorite TV show it was gone forever. Wait! We didn't even have a TV until I was well into high school.
Anyway, in my day adults didn’t dress up for Halloween. In fact, it was a two edged rite of passage when our moms told us we were getting too big to dress up for Halloween. On one hand we didn’t want to leave the free candy gathering ritual behind but on the other hand, we were being told Halloween was for little kids and our moms had moved us out of that category and into the boy-girl, spin-the-bottle parties era of our lives in place of going trick-or-treating. Today, dressing up is almost as much of an adult activity as it is for little kids. How did that happen? I really want to know. The last few years where I used to live I’d get my fair share of parents in costumes holding out their plastic pumpkins at my door. A few said they were trick-or-treating for a sick kid at home or for the baby in their strollers. I always had some boxes of animal crackers on hand for those stroller moms and I watched their faces to see if those stroller moms were disappointed that they didn’t get my Reese’s peanut butter cups. Old people know how to have fun, too.
Some people love fall, but I’m not a fan. It’s always represented a lot of work getting ready for winter. But I've been down this Memory Lane before here in my blog so I'll just use the code words: Raking leaves, storm windows and getting snow removal equipment ready. I love trees but for a split second every fall I understand why two people I know cut down every darn tree in their yards. I hate it when people do that. We need the oxygen and shade they produce.
Now days I’m guessing you’d be hard pressed to find a teenager who’d rake and burn leaves after school for weeks on end or stuff a ton of large bags with leaves each seasons. We had a yard full of oak trees at the cottage and in town. And if you know oak leaves, you know they don't fall all at once like other species do. Raking Leaves is one of those jobs like giving yourself manicures and pedicures that are now full-fledged business’s for adults. It’s become another one of those ‘in my day-isms’ I like to throw around.
Another reason I’m not fond of fall is I’m probably the only person I know in seven counties who hates the fall color palette---orange in particular agitate me physically. But we’ve had this conversation before, too, so I’ll add some new content on the subject by sharing that I recently learned about the psychology of the color orange. In our western societies it’s considered a high energy color, the color of fire, and is often used in advertising and high school colors to get people excited. But in Southeast Asia monks wear orange robes---the color of saffron---to symbolize letting go of materialism and people in those parts of the world find color orange peaceful which demonstrates there is a cultural element to how we react the color.
However, research has also proven that the longer wavelengths of orange and red are connected with higher levels of arousal which begs the question: Why Red Light districts and not Orange Light districts if the human body is sexually aroused by both colors? I'll tell you why. Because back in the 1600s prostitutes in Holland, who met the ships coming into harbor full of sailors, would carry red lanterns because the red glow they cast camouflaged their pimples and boils and signs of venereal diseases. So the red lanterns became associated with sex workers that far back. And the custom spread out world wide from there.
The color orange has an interesting history if you enjoy that sort of thing. And I do but at the risk of boring readers I won’t overshare. Okay, you twisted my arm. Just one more fun fact. The color orange was around for several centuries before it had a name. It was just called yellow-red until the word for the color was first recorded in 1502. But it wasn’t until the seventeenth century that the word was familiar enough that people started using “orange” as an adjective to denote the color of an object. When I'm struggling to tell my nieces what I had for breakfast that morning I hope they'll remember I have obscure facts in my head, if only they'd ask the right questions to get them out. ©
Until Next Wednesday….
* Painting at the top was done by artist Erin Hanson.