Monday, November 18, 2013

Indian Summer Revisited

Whoa! It's almost like summer here in Portland, Maine. The sun is shining and the temps have got to be close to hitting 60. Sailors will know it's days like this when you wonder if you should have kept the boat in the water a little longer.

So, are we still officially in Indian Summer territory here? According to the Farmer's Almanac, Indian Summer must occur between November 11 and November 20. For over 200 years, The Old Farmer's Almanac has adhered to the saying, "If All Saints' (November 1) brings out winter, St. Martin's brings out Indian summer."

So why is Indian summer called Indian summer?  Some say it comes from the early Algonquian Native Americans who believed that the condition was caused by a warm wind sent from the court of their southwestern god, Cautantowwit. This is the nice version.

The FA continues, "The most probable origin of the term, in our view, goes back to the very early settlers in New England. Each year they would welcome the arrival of a cold wintry weather in late October when they could leave their stockades unarmed. But then came a time when it would suddenly turn warm again, and the Native Americans would decide to have one more go at the settlers. "Indian summer," the settlers called it."

Indian Summer Revisited • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200


  1. Fascinating information and lovely art (as always!). I'd thought that Indian summer was a phenom that occurred in September.. this really knocks that theory down. It goes to prove that there are often unexpected sides to an old story.