Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Willow's Weekly Word
We are experiencing a few days of Indian Summer here in the Mid
West. Over the weekend the temps were in the mid eighties. The term
Indian summer has been used for more than two centuries. The earliest
known use was by French American writer St. John de Crevecoeur in
rural New York in 1778. Here are several theories as to its etymology,
I found at Wikipedia:
1. In The Americans, The Colonial Experience, Daniel J. Boorstin
....speculates that the term originated from raids on European
....colonies by Indian war parties; these raids usually ended in
....autumn, hence the extension to summer-like weather in the
....fall as an Indian summer. Two of the three other known uses
....of the term in the 18th century are from accounts kept by two
....army officers leading retaliation expeditions against Indians for
....raids on settlers in Ohio and Indiana in 1790, and Pennsylvania
2. It may be so named because this was the traditional period
....during which early Native Americans harvested their crops.
3. It may be of Asian Indian origin rather than North American
....Indian. H. E. Ware, an English writer, noted that ships
....traversing the Indian Ocean loaded their cargo most often
....during the Indian summer, or fair weather season. Several
....ships actually had an "I.S." on their hull at the load level
....thought safe during Indian summer. However this usage
....refers to the actual high summer in India, not to a late warm
4. Given that Native Americans were frequently perceived as
....deceitful and treacherous by the European settlers, the
....phrase might be of the family of terms such as "Indian giver"
....based on this supposed duplicity. Therefore, "Indian summer"
....would be a 'deceitful, treacherous' imitation of summer, which
....appears to be a return of warmer weather but is really a short
....lived 'lie' giving way to the 'truth' of cold, unpleasant conditions.
So, there you have it my bloggy friends! And as you know, I have
been in my Russian mode since refreshing it last week with Onegin.
The above painting reminds me so much of the film Burnt by the Sun,
a Russian film superbly directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, who also does a
marvelous job starring as Col. Sergei Petrovich Kotov. This is another
typical Russian tale of beauty and irony. Set in 1936, the Colonel's
idyllic family home is infiltrated by an agent of the government
police, who just happens to be his wife's former lover. Filmed in the
luscious Russian country side, it is very emotionally charged and well
deserves the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film it
received in 1995.