Daily Archives: October 5, 2012

Indian Summer

I was stopped at the light just up the road from us the other day and all of sudden it was like it was raining gold. The leaves along the street are falling. I have always wanted to take a trip to New England to see the fall leafs but right now I need to look around and realize that the Pacific NW has magnificent color. Having the lush background of evergreens only enhances the gold’s of autumn.

This year started out as a weather challenge even for seasoned Washingtonians. We went through spring with rain. Like every day it rained. By the time summer arrived I’d despaired of seeing any sun at all this year. Then like it does in this part of the world, the weather flipped and we have had an extra ordinary summer.

Now the nights are getting cooler but we are getting some beautiful warm weather during the day. I first heard the term for this kind of season, Indian Summer, as a child but never gave it much thought. Just enjoyed the days. So I decided to look up the meaning of “Indian Summer” and found it is simply unseasonably warm, dry weather. The web says it is usually followed by a period of colder weather or frost. This morning that proved true. It was so cold that when Abby went out to do her job and she hustled back in as soon as possible
So why the name ‘Indian Summer’? Since no one knows it’s only a guess and here’s a few of the guesses that I found.

• Early settlers thought the haziness of the Indian Summer weather was caused by prairie fires that were deliberately set by Indians.
• It was the time of year the Indians harvested their crops.
• It originated from Indian raids on settlements that usually ended in the autumn.
• The American Indians were the first to recognize the pattern and they used the mild weather to hunt and harvest crops in preparation for the winter.
• The Indians believed that the favorable winds were a gift from a god in the desert of the Southwest.
• Another possibility is that it was named because the weather pattern more often occurred more frequently out west, in “Indian” territory, than it did back east.

Like I said these are just guesses. This term didn’t originate in the North West, as it’s more likely to occur in the Plains States. According to USA Today, the term dates back to the 18th century United States. And, chances are we will never know the origin of the phrase with any certainty.

Whatever the reason for the name, it’s a beautiful time of year. A bit back we were discussing our favorite seasons and I have never thought of Indian Summer as a season but a season or not it is my favorite.