13 Views

A recognition of autumn’s virtue

    It’s officially autumn, and I’m sure you’re all as relieved as I am. Autumn’s like the seasonal equivalent of getting home and taking your bra off after a long day, or your belt after a heavy meal. Finally, we can relax and let it all hang out. Sometimes people see autumn as a melancholy time of year. Summer’s over, the weather’s starting to worsen and winter is on its way. But let’s stop kidding ourselves—the weather hasn’t got any worse, we’ve just finally dropped our wildly unrealistic expectations of it. In June, July or August, a rainy day is a small calamity. Any ambitious plans we might have made to actually go outside are thoroughly ruined. A week of rain and the disaster reaches almost conspiratorial levels.

   We feel cheated by Nature itself, and that we’re being denied our fundamental right to a ‘proper’ summer. Even the sunny days we do get are greeted with mistrust and suspicion. “Today’s it, today’s summer,” we announce grimly, “don’t expect any more sunshine after this.”

    Come autumn, and the picture changes utterly. Autumn holds absolutely no disappointment, precisely because we expect nothing from it. A rainy day in late September is no less inconvenient or unpleasant than one in July, but psychologically it’s less of a blow. We don’t mind it as rain fits into our conception of autumn. Sunny days, meanwhile, are hailed as the rare and extraordinary occurrences that they are. They’re a bonus, and so can be enjoyed without any niggles as to whether the good weather will last or if we’ve had as much as we’re owed. I suspect that the weather feels that easing of pressure, and performs better as a result. I study Literature, so this theory is based purely on my own whimsical speculations with absolutely no basis in scientific fact.     

    However, it is often borne out in reality: just look at the weather the other week. There was a sudden and dramatic improvement, and we were treated to gorgeous sunshine and warmth—from that Wednesday, the official start of autumn. Coincidence? Yes, probably. This effect is most obviously demonstrated in the phenomenon of the ‘Indian Summer’.

     A Guardian article from this time last year explores the origins of the phrase, which is most likely to have come from North America and might be a reference to Native Americans’ harvest patterns. It quotes William R Deedler, a US weather historian, who cites John de Crevecoeur, an Orange County farmer and author, who wrote in 1778 that “sometimes the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warmth which is called the Indian Summer; its characteristics are a tranquil atmosphere and general smokiness.”

    Calm, tranquil? That certainly seems to suggest that the weather is more relaxed. And if my degree’s taught me anything it’s that some guy writing something in the 18th century is all the evidence I need. This relaxing of our expectations goes for ourselves and our bodies as much as for the weather. Autumn means an end to the tiresome concept of getting “beach body ready.” An end to turning down extra portions because of the imminent threat of appearing near nude in public.

     An end to costly and time-consuming beauty procedures, such as applying fake tan to make it seem as though you’ve cheated the system and received more than the nation’s allotted two days of sun. I personally don’t plan to shave my legs until mid-June. Obviously we would all be much healthier and happier if these silly hang-ups didn’t exist at all, but they do, and autumn at least means a respite from them. It’s fitting therefore that Halloween, the season’s signature event, has become a celebration of dressing up ridiculously and making a fool of yourself.

    What a brilliant time of year.

Laura Bird

Image by Chris Sorge

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s Cinderella review
Arts, Film & Theatre
16 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
16 views

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s Cinderella review

Georgia Grace - February 23, 2018

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia came to the Theatre Royal Brighton this week with a trio of classic ballet performances to impress a range of audiences.…

Billionaire builds colossal 10,000 year clock
Science, Science & Technology
30 views
Science, Science & Technology
30 views

Billionaire builds colossal 10,000 year clock

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has gone ahead with a plan to build a giant clock to promote long term thinking. The clock's design should allow it to…

Neuroscience: it must be love on the brain
Science, Science & Technology
79 views
Science, Science & Technology
79 views

Neuroscience: it must be love on the brain

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

If you're madly in love, I'd like to ask you to take a moment to consider what exactly is happening inside your brain. Love is a many-chemical…

Rockets and technopoltics: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy
Science, Science & Technology
48 views
Science, Science & Technology
48 views

Rockets and technopoltics: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could become a defining feature in humanity's exploration of space, but this impressive technical feat opens up a new frontier of…

Should the monarchy be abolished?
News
23 views
News
23 views

Should the monarchy be abolished?

Will Cronk - February 23, 2018

YES William Cronk Since the time of Alfred the Great, this country has had a monarch of some form or another. The monarchy has provided stability and…

News, Podcast
28 views

News Round Up: UCU strike updates, tuition fees and more

William Singh - February 23, 2018

In this news round up of the week, Will and Deniz catch you up on everything going on around campus. Thanks for listening and tune in next…

Academic Armchair- iObjectify: self- and other-objectification on Grindr
Features, Top Stories
22 views
Features, Top Stories
22 views

Academic Armchair- iObjectify: self- and other-objectification on Grindr

Devin Thomas - February 23, 2018

The Badger Features Team interviewed Sussex’s Yasin Koc about his work on the psychological factors behind Grindr. He posits that use of the app is associated with…

The Badger Reviews: Derry Girls
Arts, Film & Theatre
25 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
25 views

The Badger Reviews: Derry Girls

Sophie Coppenhall - February 22, 2018

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MwnpSEzprQ[/embedyt] This week, Sophie our film editor, reviews season one of Derry Girls. Have you seen it? What did you think? Leave us a comment on…

Arts, Film & Theatre
40 views

Krater’s Valentine’s Day Special review

Daniel Green - February 21, 2018

Love was in the air at a Valentine’s special of Krater Comedy Club last Wednesday and, despite the pouring rain outside, Komedia was packed full of people…

‘Paws for Pensions’ among strike event schedule
Campus News, News
41 views
Campus News, News
41 views

‘Paws for Pensions’ among strike event schedule

William Singh - February 21, 2018

University of Sussex staff are hosting a full slate of events on strike days, including talks, teach-ins, and even a day to bring along your puppers. Members…

Exploring Mumbai Street Food
Lifestyle
40 views
Lifestyle
40 views

Exploring Mumbai Street Food

Louisa Streeting - February 21, 2018

Mumbai is a place that assaults the senses; an array of smells you’ve never smelt before, vibrant colours, and constant noises from the surge of tourists and…

Comment, Opinion
44 views

Comment Cast: Misogyny In Hollywood

Will Cronk - February 21, 2018

In the is episode, Will and Sophie discuss misogyny in film and tv. For more, pick up a badger around campus or read it online. Tune in…

Students need to support the UCU strike
Comment, Opinion
51 views
Comment, Opinion
51 views

Students need to support the UCU strike

Johnbosco Nwogbo - February 20, 2018

The question of whether or not the current UCU strike is justified is an easily settled one, if one took a broad view. According to the Joseph…

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?
Features, Top Stories
50 views
Features, Top Stories
50 views

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?

Roisin McCormack - February 20, 2018

As it reaches a century since the defining moments of women’s suffrage, Roisin McCormack looks into how much things have really changed. Is a celebration of the…

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)
Arts, Film & Theatre
31 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
31 views

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)

Gabriel Ross - February 20, 2018

During a 2002 interview with Charlie Rose, when asked whether he is going to take some time off, Adam Sandler promptly replies, “I don’t really wanna have…

News
52 views

Live: Students’ Union decides on UCU strike backing

William Singh - February 19, 2018

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000
Campus News, News
68 views
Campus News, News
68 views

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000

Jordan Wright - February 19, 2018

On Monday 19th February, the Students’ Union Council will vote on whether or not to support the national Univerity  and College Union (UCU) strike action that is…

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review
Arts, Music
38 views
Arts, Music
38 views

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review

Matthew Nicholls - February 19, 2018

Three years after their last release, The Wombats are back with their long awaited fourth album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. Since 'Glitterbug' reached number 5…

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse
Artist Focus, Arts
50 views
Artist Focus, Arts
50 views

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse

Louisa Hunt - February 19, 2018

Ella Barkhouse is a second-year Brighton student, studying Fine Art: Critical Practice course. Her work ranges across all sorts of media, from some more traditional writing, drawing…

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February
Books
76 views
Books
76 views

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February

Shiri Reuben - February 19, 2018

  Throughout the month of February, LGBT History Month aims to promote tolerance and spread awareness of the historical and present-day prejudices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual…