On August 16, 2023

The Funologist: Russet season: Every day is its own season


I used to dismiss this tweeny season. The weeks of muted, russet yellows, browns and purples, that comes between the green of summer and fiery colors of fall. 

I used to lament the passing of summer, and pine for fall, and the winter ahead. And in that wishing and waiting, I overlooked this beautiful, brief, season. As if it didn’t count. 

However, now that I live by a calendar I call ‘365 seasons a year’ (part of my Funology methodosophy), I view every day as its own season. 

When I wake up, I go outside and ask myself, “what season is it—today?” Then I fully embrace whatever season that day has to offer. And go outside to work and play in it.

At some point in my life I realized that to whine and grumble about the weather, or season, meant I could (and was) wasting up to half my life—waiting. Waiting for a different season, or different weather. What a waste of precious time! So I decided to change how I thought about weather and seasons. And created my own calendar. One that celebrated today and everything it had to offer.

And that’s when I started to notice the russet season.

My favorite way to enjoy this season is while walking, running or cycling. The colors, being muted, are best viewed while moving at a slower pace and up close. 

Being outdoors and moving allows me to combine physical wellness with russet season peeping.” Also, I am turning into a color palette that while more subtle, is no less substantial than its celebrity sister — the Fall. 

A win, win, win. 

From the dirt up

I noticed that russet season starts at my feet—and moves up.

Poison ivy, that evil, stunted vine, is the first to go. Transforming overnight from a perfect, camouflage green, to a shocking, crimson red, its cover is blown. Ha! I see you.

Goldenrod, in muted, russet yellow, looks divine with the off-white of queen anne’s lace. Thistle, asters, and other purples reign over the roadsides. Burdock and poison parsnip are past their prime in shades of blessed “I see you,” dusty brown. 

Wild apples fall as reddish-green dots on the road, dropped from unnoticed trees, gone dark, gnarly and creepy-cool with neglect. 

And on it goes, day by day, spreading from the dirt, to the fields, up the fence lines and into the swamps. The season is a slow march, a signal change of direction. It waves to us quietly: look at me. I’m here, I matter.

From the top down

And soon, as the calendar flips to September, the showy colors of autumn begin. Starting at the colder tops of the mountains, the colors swoop down the hillsides, to the maples, oaks and birches, hunkered in the hollows.

Brown-gray season

And in the season after that, the cold, gray winds come and tumble pretty leaves into a soft-brown quilt covering the browning ground.

On its heels is the icy-white season, freezing the puddles that hide in the sunless bends. 

The gravel on my dirt road has skittles off to the sides as the road hardens in the dropping temperatures. I can do my yoga/calisthenics (I call them snowga) on the road’s smooth surface when I run to the lake prewarming for a swim (I call it snow swimming).

And now the snow-white season arrives, covering the earth as it should. We aren’t meant to see the dirt for a time. When it is resting under a downy comforter and the pale-yellow, unwarm sun, this quiet season is when the earth is preparing for next year’s color palette.

To learn more about Sandra Dee Owens, visit: sandradeeowens.com

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