Harley Hay

Harley Hay: Great excuse to have pumpkin pie

Such a special time of year, really. Fall, I mean. Autumnal equinox. Harvest time. Indigenous summer. Depending on if you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person, the fall season is somehow simultaneously gentle yet ominous and you either love all the kaleidoscopic hues of the luminous leaves or hate the inevitable fatal fall of those same leaves.

Most of us, I suppose, are bit of both in terms of ‘istics’ – passim and optim. After all, we are here in Canukland where a perfect fall day can feel like forever, yet on the other side of the loonie we all know what the falling leaves signify. That “W” word, and I don’t mean “warm,” “wonderful” or “whoopee,” I mean the one with snow.

But, live in the moment, they say. Enjoy today, they say, because tomorrow never comes. Know the “now,” they say. I’m never sure who “they” are but “they” seem to be fairly smart in suggesting that our glass should always be half full, except, I might add, when it comes to nice mug of cold beer which always seems to be half empty.

So let us embrace the September in us all with a few fall fun facts that I have personally gathered for you from various questionable sources.

Firstly, it is apparently a known fact that catching a falling leaf brings good luck, so that’s a nice start. I’ll see you out there under the Manitoba maples trying to get lucky.

According to a 2008 study, men find women more attractive in the fall. They say this has something to do with more clothing and less visible skin. (Really?) And in a possibly related note it turns out that this time of year has the highest number of couples becoming engaged. And in a possibly contradictory factoid, it turns out that more babies are born in the fall. In fact, September is the number one baby boom in any given year. (Hmmm.)

And speaking of babies, a large Bristol University study found that children delivered in the autumn were nine percent more active, while a different study in the U.S. of A. found that babies born in the fall are more likely to live to 100. Wow, it must be all that photosynthesis and chlorophyll going on out there.

And speaking of out there, meteorologists say that “fall has a distinct scent.” They say, rather poetically, “As the leaves take their last breath, they ‘exhale’ all sorts of gases.” The smell is described as “a bit like chlorine or the exhaust from a dryer vent.” So if you’re out for a nice autumn walk and you smell chlorine exhaust, no worries, it’s just the dying leaves.

And, wow, my exhaustive four minute research on all things fall has uncovered some epic ten-dollar words to add to your vocabulary! How about “petrichor”? Petrichor is the “distinctive, earthy, pleasant odour” wafting from the “first rain in the fall.” They call it “one of the most satisfying scents in the world.”

And if you don’t get a chance to sniff the rainfall in the fall, perhaps you can enjoy some “psithurism.” From the Greek meaning “whispering,” psithurism is the sound of leaves and trees rustling in the wind – which they note is similarly “one of the most satisfying noises of the season.”

So all in all, “they” obviously think fall is quite “satisfying.”

And finally, speaking of satisfying, according to the Weather Channel, pumpkin is by far the most craved food in autumn. And there you have the very best reason to enjoy September yet: fall wants you to have pie.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.