Cliche Sunday


The Autumn edition.  

Fall is my favorite time of the year, but it does lend itself to many, many clichés.  From pumpkin spice, well, everything (I saw pumpkin spice oatmeal; even I am not going there), cosy plaids, warm knits, to walks in the colorful woods and hayrides; Autumn has inspired imaginations across the world.

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. 
                                                                                                 –  P. D. James

there’s an R in the month: the month will be cold. From September to April, each month’s name has an R, but from May to August there are no R’s in the names. This phrase was originally cuisine related in the Middle Ages, as it was said that you shouldn’t eat oysters unless the month had an R in it.

spring forward, fall back: a simple way to remember that clocks are set forward an hour in the spring, and back an hour in the fall. While we still use it today, this cliché has a long and varied past; including Benjamin Franklin (who realized that too much was spent on candles due to afternoon darkness, but not that we should alter the clocks) and George Hudson, a New Zealander who did in fact suggest the changing of the clocks to get more productivity in 1895. A 1907 book by William Willett, A Waste of Daylight, brought the idea forward again and Britain was the first country to institute Daylight Savings during World War I. After the idea crossed to America, the phrase ‘spring forward, fall back’ came into being.

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
                                                                                                 –   George Eliot

fall: Autumn. Fall was created in Tudor Britain, based on the idea of the ‘fall of the leaf.’ First found in print in 1545; in a manual about archery called Toxophilus. The book was written for Queen Elizabeth by her tutor:

Spring tyme, Somer, faule of the leafe, and winter.
– Roger Ascham

season of mists and mellow fruitfulness: a lengthy, if lyrical, way to say Autumn in the UK. This phrase has a very simple and direct provenance:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
– John Keats, To Autumn, 1920

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
                                                                                                       –   Stanley Horowitz



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