From G Major to F#

Autumn Orange by Steve Whitfield
Autumn Orange (OSU campus in Stillwater) by Steve Whitfield

There are signs everywhere that summer is beginning its weary submission to encroaching autumn. It’s persistent here in climes not Pacific. I grew up with three seasons, basically: spring, summer, and autumn. I thought I knew what winter was, but until I lived in Colorado and then Oklahoma, I didn’t have a clue. I’ve gotten quite attached to my seasons, I have to admit, but my favorite is autumn.

Maybe it’s because I was born in late September. Maybe it’s because I’m made of autumn colors. Maybe it’s just that summer is so damned hot and humid. Whatever it is, I like autumn. The air becomes cooler, the sun less harsh. The light changes from G major to F# and everything in me changes along with it. Bare feet give way to soft socks, short sleeves change to long, iced tea is replaced with Earl Grey, and ceiling fans are turned off as candles in cut glass jars are lit in the evenings.

Behold! The fabric!

Here at Bookends Cottage things become cozier. I change out the pastel soft furnishings with those the colors of wine and burnished gold. Tapestry runners and brocade table tops replace crocheted doilies and embroidered, white cotton table scarves. This year, I’m making draperies. All we’ve ever had in the windows is lace, but this year I’m changing that. I bought a couple of yards of this upholstery fabric last year to serve as a table cloth when I turned the dining table into a desk, and I still love it. It’s heavy, durable, sumptuous. The desk idea didn’t last very long and the dining room (which is separated from the living room only by a large set of Craftsman tapered columns) was changed into a music room, thus doubling the size of our actual living area.

Hello, Nigel!

The draperies (with lace panels inset into the windows, and valances) will be made for the large bay in the music room as well as the windows and front door in the living room. The door treatment will be a portiere on a swing arm rod—if I can find one the right length and at the right price. That search is in progress. What’s great about this is that when spring and summer return, all I’ll have to do is take down the draperies and I’ll have my lacy, airy ambiance back. Maybe we’ll be able to get a new sofa in 2016. We’re playing with the idea of two chaises, which we call “ass-eaters”, which would serve us quite nicely on cold winter nights. When we have parties we could simply move them into the corner and pile on the pillows as a sectional. This appeals to the inner hedonist in me.

In the garden things begin to change as well. My monstrous growth of Morning Glories are finally blooming and the entire southwest corner of the front porch is dominated by fat, green leaves and deep purple flowers. This is only the second day of their blossoming; a week from today it’ll be ablaze out there.


It won’t be long now until I set into my project to plant a gazillion bulbs in the bed that lines the curved side of the driveway. There’s still a bit of Monkey Grass to pull up, though, but I’m waiting until it cools down a little more. Then I’ll plant Tulips and Crocuses to brighten the existing Daffodils that come up every spring.

The downside of autumn is of course the 82 year-old oak tree there. While I love the shade it provides in the summer, it presents me with a lot of raking each year. Soon enough, I’ll be out there one morning every week, breaking my back. I don’t mind the leaves that carpet the ground (they blow away pretty quickly), but the driveway always becomes a real mess.

I’m also looking forward to my evening walks with Nigel, but I hope his fervor for these excursions lessens as winter ensues. Still, Autumn is a full season here, so I have a bit of time to prepare myself for that.

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  1. I like autumn, but here it seems so late in coming. I lived up north and out west for decades and now have moved to where the thing that identifies fall are oyster roasts, fishing running and dots of color.

  2. I just discovered your blog while searching online for an image of one of my paintings. It was so nice to see “Autumn Orange” being shared with others. If you don’t mind,…I would be curious to know where you came across it. (At one time I sold a few prints of it and gave away a couple of more. I currently don’t have a website.)
    I enjoy your writing and will be exploring more of it in the days to come! -Steve

    1. Gosh, I really don’t remember, but I think I performed an image search on “Oklahoma autumn.” I love this painting so much; I live just a few blocks from campus and I always love when Fall arrives. I’m originally from California and had never seen a true Fall until I moved here in 2000. You depicted it gloriously!

  3. Thanks Kaye,
    Thanks for your kind words about my artwork. I have two daughters who graduated from OSU so that was my inspiration. I teach art at an alternative high school in Oklahoma City, and spend summers as an Artist in Residence for the National Park Service. Any other time I have is often spent painting scenes of Oklahoma or places I’ve visited.

    I stumbled onto your site by accident when I was searching for an example of 1 point perspective drawing for my class and remembered that was what I had used for that painting! This weekend, when I have more time, I hope to look more into your writing and music. From what I see so far,….I love it!

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