Bring on the autumn
Frank Cotolo
August 31, 2010
Sometimes lesser controversies arise amid the swarm of the big ones. People gather in the thousands and march, protest, shout, carry firearms and wave signs of malcontent about certain things while other things get so little attention we hardly know they still dig deeply into our social scrotum.
Summer is over and now comes autumn.
Or is it fall?
Have you thought about the fact that through the decades the season to come upon this hemisphere next has two names?
Which do you say?
A) Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring
B) Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
My guess is A. When you think of the four seasons in order, you use the word "fall," not autumn.
It is about time this controversial issue has come to resolution. We need to make a decision about which we will use for the season after summer.
For one, it is only fair to the other seasons. Why does each of them have a singular title? Should we give the other three seasons another name each to make it all even?
For two, the word "fall" as a title also shares other definitions, making it confusing. If someone says to you, "I had a bad fall," do they mean they had a rotten autumn or they tripped and tumbled to the ground?
What about if they say, "I hope I do not fall." Can this be interpreted to mean the person hopes he or she does not have a season after winter?
Last week, a child in a grade-school class was asked: "Are all humans Caucasian?" The child answered, "No. Summer black." Obviously, the teacher knew that the child misused the title of the hot season because "summer" has no other meaning.
And winter? No word is more definitive. Well, maybe some are as definitive but no other words describe cold and snow and bitter winds better without ever adding other words to a sentence using the word "winter". This is one fine noun.
Spring? Although some schools of thought feel that this name is also confusing, no one goes around thinking that when the season with the same name begins people bounce around like they have anti-gravity shoes. Spring may be an action word that rivals jump but no one would ever think of using "jump" as another title for the season spring. Who could get used to saying, "It might as well be jump?"
But mainly, my concern here is that there is no driving force among the masses or even the semi-masses or under-masses to start a movement that addresses this issue. Every time autumn begins, people randomly use its name and the name "fall" at random, as if this does not matter to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
There is no doubt that America's forefathers leaned heavily to using the title "autumn". The more poetic word, when appearing with the names of the other seasons, always outdoes the other names.
George Washington was once heard saying, "The autumn of my years flourish." And even if he was not heard saying that, we are sure he would have been if he used those words.
In Great Britain, where it is said the origins of the English language were developed, a great king of the 1300s, for lack of a better century, told his people, "Follow the autumn winds, they lead you to your future crops". No one then and no one now knows what the king meant by that but his use of autumn over the word fall is distinct.
Nothing will be settled until enough people take this seriously and understand the importance of this issue. If no one cares then all right.
Frank Cotolo can be found hosting the talk and interview programme Cotolo Chronicles. You can send him an e-mail at this address:
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