Photostory #453: Indian Summer
National Film Board Photostory - [Story by] John Ough
October 10, 1967
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Soon after the sun passes through the autumnal equinox, then is the time for Jack Frost to whistle up his first chill breeze. Then, as the Canadian countryside transforms to the fiery panorama of autumn's incredible riot of color, the first hard-hitting frosts chase away the last traces of summer's greenness. For a few days, a week or two, the cold winds call roughly of the coming winter, insistently worrying the tree tops and laying a royal carpet of golden-copper-crimson leaves in readiness for the imminent, awesome presence. But suddenly, if the year is blessed, there is a pause. The sharp winds themselves fall to the earth. In their place, mild, gentle zephyrs rustle the remaining banners of bright foliage. The sun, now several degrees in decline below the earth's equator, once more sends its warming rays upon the land and a miniature summer -- Indian Summer -- arrives. In the woodlands there is a holiday. Small creatures, all ready for the winter siege, lay by a few more provisions, then bask in idleness or gorge on the tidbits warmed over from summer's banquet. Larger animals forage comfortably in the sunshine, laying on an extra coat of fat to battle winter's coming onslaughts. Passing birds, heading for southern wintering grounds, delay their journeys, forget their haste to party a while at an unexpected stopover. For Canadians, facing their familiar winter of crackling sub-zero nights and snow-dazzling days, this is the time for leisurely strolls and scenic drives, a time to savor in full the warm, dry, hazy days that come after the first sharp frosts and which are called, Indian Summer.