Summer, spring, and winter each have one name only,
but fall is also autumn, autumn fall,
and then somewhere hidden in there during November usually,
comes that mysterious moment of Indian summer,
never guaranteed to happen, but when it does, it brings a few days of relief
from the hard cold that winter has brought in with it.
I wonder if Native Americans feel like calling it White Man Summer?
Winter = white, after all, which, is the “color”
we should never don after Labor Day they say.
I think this is either because we do not wish to appear fools
who believe we are still basking in the blaze of an Acapulco summer vacay,
or, rather more likely I believe, because it would be hard to find us
if we were lying out there somewhere in the snow,
decked out in our summery best duds
felled by a heart attack while foraging for fire wood,
or due to some darker reason.
Trickily for the murderer who dumps a dead guy out in that winterland wonderland,
this Native American intersticial summer might reveal said corpsical prematurely,
so contingency plans must include remediation for this situation.
Beware, by the way, if your spouse, in the dead of winter,
suggests that the two of you go on a picnic in the snowy wild,
and suggests further that you wear white to create
the giddy illusion of roasting in toasty summer weather.
Without doubt, this is one romantic outing from which
you are destined never to return, so wear bright red
in order to thwart your erstwhile soulmate’s scheme.
But I digress, so back to my initial wondering.
Why is it that fall/autumn is so privileged as to have two names?
Why it’s obvious, isn’t it? This question turns rhetorical.
Autumn is a more formal word than fall, which determines its usage.
I mean just look at the word, how it’s more comely to the eye,
say it aloud and you can clearly hear
that Autumn is more mellifluous, more regal, more Continental.
I believe, announced Sir Bertram Sedgwick, that autumn has come upon us.
Fall, well, yeah, watch out for that banana peel ‘cause you might slip and fall.
Can you imagine anyone ever saying you might slip and autumn?
That would be absolutely unintelligible dribble drabble.
Except for a European, but not for anyone with any sense.
But you know, thinking about it, I’m tempted to start
a “slip and autumn” substitution movement – No.
Or how about be careful not to autumn down those stairs, or
did you see that piano autumn off the roof and autumn on that guy?
Wait. Stop. We’re not here to coin quips or for high hilarity.
Simply, we are, we were here to consider the conundrum
of why the season is called both autumn and fall.
So now that riddle’s solved to everyone’s satisfaction,
I propose it would be an appropriate follow-up pursuit
to create another name each for spring, summer, and winter.
Mine are bunny hop, shave ice, and Jimmy Hoffa, respectively.