Monday, October 21, 2013

Indian Summer

I didn’t think I’d get to write about Indian Summer as we’ve had a cold wet fall. But this week the sun is out and we’re back to shirtsleeves at midday. The colors are spectacular this year, and now flooded with sunshine, even better.   

The term Indian Summer has been around for centuries and is believed to have originated in New England. The why of the title is much debated. To be a true Indian Summer it must be in late fall, calm, warm and dry, following cold weather and a hard frost. One claim is that it’s the season when American Indians would burn grasslands to attract game, and the haze common this time of year was attributed to those fires. Another opinion is that the derogative term “Indian Giver” meaning a falsehood, spawned the term, as this is after all, a “false” summer. Another interesting view, and one that seems plausible to me, is that White vs. Indian conflicts subsided as cold weather moved in, but were revived if warm temperatures returned for a block of days before winter set in for good.

Or maybe it's as simple as this. Our native peoples, nomadic in nature would have settled in for the winter, their lodging set and food stores secure. Then comes the return of summer. How welcome that would be to them. A few more days of hunting and preparation for winter.  

We're making the most of it as well. We took the calves off and trucked them home in good fashion.

As words do, the term has morphed to describe not just a weather pattern, but any last brilliance before a final decline. As if fall in its fleeting beauty isn’t melancholy enough.

where the Blackfoot River dumps into the valley
photo by Becky Davis

good weaning weather
calves on one side, cows on the other
photo by Anita Pratt

day 2 weaning
finally, solar energy to help charge the fence!

1 comment:

  1. I have used the term but never really knew what "indian summer" meant. You're saying it's a breath of the summer, maybe a day or a week, happening in late Fall? How cool and poetic.
    And your last line is so true: "as if Fall in its fleeting beauty isn't melancholy enough."