Tuesday, March 1, 2011

After Too! Long. Now I Ask, Is Autumn an Indian Summer?

Today is the first day of Autumn in South Australia.
Typically the months of March, Especially April and May,
the evenings become cooler but the days can be glorious and a term we often use for
these perfect Autumn days is known as Indian Summer Days.
An unusual saying it made me want to understand where this term originally came from.
Searching through google I found this explanation for the term....
" An unseasonably warm, dry and calm weather usually following a period of colder weather or frost in late Autumn ( or in the Southern Hemisphere where the term is less common, late Spring.)"
Further reading brings me to this explanation...
It seems that the term refers to both England and America and relates to St Martin's Summer in England and the warm weather that typically occurs on and around the eleventh of November.
Where as in America there are many explanations such as, False Summer, starting around the Autumnal Equinox.
However after reading many sites on my journey to understand the term I have uncovered so many variations not only in timings for this occurrence but also reasons for why it is named as such, that I am now a tad confused here.
It seems we in Australia have a token Indian Summer because much of the criteria for the real deal Indian summer does not quite fit us down here in the Antipodes.
A link can be found here for further reading.
As I read a little about the Australian "Indian Summer" period a few suggestions for this pleasant and usually beautiful time of the year, I noticed that it is sometimes referred to here as our Blackberry Winter.
Another rather interesting term and the reason given for this name, being that May is usually the time that blackberries are ripe and ready to be picked in those areas of Australia where they are grown.
Now I love Blackberries but have you ever tried picking them?
One of the most prickly and hardest jobs around.
Wild Blackberry bushes, the ones I have usually tackled, are relentless.
They are full of prickles, usually
tangled masses and require both protective clothing and gloves, with bucket in hand, as you dive through carefully to pick those incredibly delicious small black berries. Eaten after washing them, of course.
Quite a difference I think from 'the thought' of wandering through that glorious grove of Autumnal colour, near the blackberry beds which usually grow around the creek, then spreading a picnic rug onto the grassy ground, which by this time is covered in masses of coloured Autumn leaves. After this you simply lie down on the rug and look skywards to enjoy the beautiful blue skies often observed here at this time. All this, whilst the warmth of the Autumn sunshine tops up your Vitamin D quota for the oncoming winter.
Great Thought?
Ah! the Bliss of an Indian Summer in Australia
Oops did I say Indian Summer, I am sorry I meant to say...
Ah! The Bliss That Can Be
South Australian Autumn!
Mil 11.


  1. In the west we have summer or winter and not much in between..Indian Summer sounds almost perfect.

  2. Hi Heather after so long, great to hear from you.
    Today is one of those days here..glorious actually. Hope it continues. In saying this I still love to hear the pitter patter on those rain drops on my roof especially at night as I go off to sleep. Ah! now imagine how good that would be for our gardens.