Teaching Grammar With the Seasons
Living in the Southwest where we have definitive and predictable seasons you either come to love every one of them or…not. So not. I’m in the first group. I love ‘em all. Some not as much as others, some much more than others. Fall, I believe has been mentioned before is my all-time fave but they all have stuff that I love about them.
I always think of that song from Camelot—the original and only Lerner and Lowe extravaganza with all the singing and Never-Never Landness—where Lancelot and Guinevere is saying (singing) how can I possibly leave you in Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall? Because there are all these things he associated with her and the seasons, and using lots of lovely similes and metaphors to do it. Which, believe it or not, brings me to the point of today’s article: seasons.
One of the best things about seasons for writers is the opportunity for description. Think about it, seasons are all about the senses, aren’t they? Well, they should be. Each season has its own sights, Fall leaves, Spring flowers, Winter snow, Summer flowers again. And smells, wood smoke, apple pie, caramel corn, barbecue anything. Sounds, skis shooshing through snow, the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, crickets cricketing—and can you believe cricketing is a word?—you get the idea. Seasons are fun to write about as well as experience. Seriously, give it a try.
Teachers, this makes a great writing assignment because everybody has something they love—or hate—about the seasons. Ask for a descriptive paragraph correlating one sense and one season and see what happens.
The following is an excerpt from my award-winning short story, The Halloween Man.
Trees had changed their clothes from summers bright greens to autumns oranges, reds, browns and gold’s like vain women dressing for afternoon tea. During the day, the sky was that shade of cobalt blue unique to fall, the color of summer’s twilight, blueberry Popsicles, deep water and the cold still to come. Smoky breezes rustled bared branches, the sound of old bones rattling together. Cinnamon buns, pumpkin pie, roasting marshmallows, burning leaves hung on the air; the elusive bouquet of a fleeting season.
Orange Jack-o-lanterns brightened windows, cut-yellow smiles glowed with candles light. Paper skeletons leered from door fronts, bats dangled, spiders spun, monsters mingled, black cats arched, witches watched. Inside those warm, clean houses, mothers put finishing touches on costumes for pint-sized goblins and ghouls, princesses and firemen, super heroes and cartoon characters.
Bowls of candy waited on front hall tables, steaming cider, rich, meaty chili, sugar cookies cut into monstrous shapes. There would be barrels filled with apples for bobbing, dishes brimming with ghoul guts; cold spaghetti, peeled grapes for eyeballs, congealed oatmeal for brains.
Old horror movies flickered on television sets, black and white mummies shambled, arms outreached, Frankenstein picked the same flower over and over, vampires terrorized maidens.
It was the season of make-believe and wishful thinking, costumes and characters. Autumn, Fall, Harvest. That time of changeable days and cool nights. A Crayola box of colors bursting from shades of green, surrendering to dark and cold but with its bright farewell a promise that the warmth would return.