Friday, October 14, 2011

Autumn - The Perfect Season

By Tanya Fox

Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Michigan know that autumn is a beautiful season. Leaves turn so many vibrant colors. The air turns crisp. Harvests of small personal gardens to big farms begin in earnest. Life starts to slow down after the busy summer months and autumn sets the tone for the coming winter months. Autumn is a transition time. Autumn is the perfect season to take stock of our lives, too, and what better way to get started and set the mood than to read a good book.

The Clarke Historical Library has many items with an autumn theme. Some are by Michigan authors such as Three Sonnets of the Northland Autumn by Ethel E. Mann or Leaves of Life’s Autumn by Lillian Wright Melville. In her poem “Woodland Memories of the North”, Ms. Melville writes of the fall season with the words “Have you ever walked on woodland paths when autumn’s tinged with gold, And watched its wondrous beauty so magically unfold?” Some titles evoke the whole feeling of autumn with just a few words such as Autumn Hours and Fireside Reading by another Michigan author C.M. Kirkland. Other books in the Clarke include Autumn Leaves Gathered in an Indian Summer: Sermons, Addresses and Lectures by Howard A.M. Henderson and a book of poetry dedicated to the season called Autumn Leaves by Mildred M. North.

We have children’s books with the autumn theme, also. Take a photographic journey into the autumn woods with the book First Snow in the Woods: a Photographic Fantasy by Carl R. Sams. First Snow includes beautiful and engaging photographs of wild life preparing for winter. The Juvenile Naturalist: or, Walks in the Country by B.H. Draper is a children’s book from 1842. Seedtime and Harvest: Tales includes stories translated from the German language circa the late 1850’s.

The Fruits of the Harvest: a Collection of More Than Three Hundred and Seventy-five Tested Recipes is a cookbook from the women of the Grosse Pointe Memorial Church that will help utilize the garden and farm produce found in abundance in Michigan’s fall season. Leslie A. Loveless has a book called A Bountiful Harvest : the Midwestern Farm Photographs of Pete Wettach, 1925-1965 for anyone who has an interest in the pictorial history of farms and farm life. The Library even has a video called The Northern Fall which allows the viewer to tour the Great Lakes Region in the autumn.

Whether you want to read a few sonnets or other poems, peruse photographs, find a mouth-watering recipe, or spend some quiet, thoughtful time in the autumn - the Clarke Library has something for you. George Eliot said of the season “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.” Autumn is a time for reflection and appreciation of nature’s beauty and bounty. Let the Clarke be a part of your season.