Edwin Way Teale, in his Autumn Across America (subtitled “A naturalist’s record of a 20,000 mile journey through the North American autumn”), 1950:
There is a midsummer. There is a midwinter. But there is no midspring or midautumn. These are the seasons of constant change. Like dawn and dusk they are periods of transition. But like night and day and day and night they merge slowly, gradually. As Richard Jeffries once wrote, broken bits of summer can be found scattered far into the shortening days of fall. Only on calendars and in almanacs are the lines of division sharply defined.
And writingly beautifully about the bane of my existence, as I try to get the house ready for our giant pumpkin carving party,
…all the thistle thickets were dusty that day. Here, too, the gray autumn dust had settled. It coated my shoes. It surrounded my feet in a moving cloud when I strode through the dry vegetation. Dust — the bane of the immaculate housewife, the cause of choking and sneezing, the reducer of industrial efficiency — dust to a naturalist represents one of the great, essential ingredients in the beauty of the world.
If it were possible to banish dust from the earth, the vote probably would be overwhelmingly in favor of it. Yet subtract dust from the 5,633,000,000,000,000-ton atmosphere that surrounds the globe and you would subtract infinitely more. You would rain blue from the sky and the lake. For fine dust, as well as the molecules of vapor and the air itself, scatters the blue rays and contributes color the the heavens above and reflected color to the waters below. You would eliminate the beauty of the autumn mist and the summer cloud. For every minute droplet of moisture in fog and cloud forms about a nucleus of dust. You would hat the rain and never know the whiteness of drifted snow. For raindrops and snowflakes and hailstones also come into being about a center of airborne dust. You would remove the glory of the sunrise from the world and wipe all the flaming beauty of the sunset from the sky. For sunrise and sunset, as we know them, are the consequence of the rays passing through the hazy, dusty air near the surface of the earth where the blue rays are filtered out and the red and orange rays pass through. …
Nearly as much as the scent of leaf fires in the dusk, the smell of dusty autumn weedlots is part of the early memories of the fall. During our westward travels with the season I asked many people what scent first came to mind at the mention of autumn. To some it was the fragrance of ripe grapes, to others the kitchen smells of canning and jelly-making, to others the aroma of the apple harvest; to most, I think, it was the scent of burning leaves, but to more than I expected it was the mingled odor of the weedlot, the smell of ragweed and sunflower and sweet clover and dust, the very breath of autumn’s dryness.
(Little pie pumpkins from the kids’ garden this summer)