This is a describing autumn worksheet to help teachers and parents. I hope you enjoy the post and can get value from it.
Many people have a dislike for autumn. They see it as a gateway to a darker world. The hour goes back, the shadows close in and stories of hobgoblins and spooks are told around fires again. September can be the most beautiful month of the year, however. Although the schools are back, the weekends still see lines of cars heading for the beach.
God’s daystar still burns bright, dancing on the ocean like faerie-fire. The sea sighs and sleeps in its blue robe before the late, autumn winds lashes it in anger. Barbecues sizzle and the smell of charcoal and burnt meat is mouth-watering. The days unfold slowly before the night throws up a galaxy of stars. They glitter and gleam like diamond dust in the velvet-black sky.
AUTUMN IN SEPTEMBER
The September mornings are bright and airy. Horses and cattle still munch and graze the fields. The horses snort and toss their heads, glad to be alive. Then they break into a gallop, their hooves thrumming across the soft, turfy ground. Some of the dawns are beautiful and you can see the mist rising like a dragon’s breath. It drifts up, circling the trees with its ghostly tentacles.
In the forest, the leaves are still spring-green and lush. The first dark spots appear on some of them as a warning that the summer is fading. Winter buds poke through the hazel and walnut trees. There is an opera of birdsong tumbling through the air and the world is a happy place. In the distance, you might hear the witch-wail of a jay, a type of coloured magpie. Because of the jay and the screech-owl, people in olden times believed that the souls of the dead returned on October 31st. We will come back to that later.
For now, the rivers run joyfully. They are neon-blue and bounce over the rocks, throwing up spray that looks like lemonade. The rivers are the highways of the forests and fishermen stand in them, hoping to pick up a plump trout. The trout can be seen in the gin-clear water, their speckled bellies heaving up and down. Their spots are the colours of the rainbow: yolk-yellow, bilberry-blue and plum-purple. Sometimes they break the surface, leaping into the air and landing again with a watery splash.
The mountains in the distance are not yet snow-cloaked. They are old and tired and punch the sky wearily. In a few weeks, a ring of snow will appear on the highest peak. An Alaskan-cold wind shall sweep in from the north and the first frosts shall crisp and shrink the juicy grass. Every animal that can harvest, hide or hibernate shall disappear for the year. They will escape the sharp fangs of Jack Frost and re-emerge in the cold, ancient light of spring.
Winter is coming and there will be a Reckoning.
- Which of the six paragraphs did you enjoy the most? Say why you thought it was the best.
- Give an example of five metaphors in the passage. Then try to replace them with 5 different metaphors.
- Write out your own story about why September is special to you.
- Replace all the underlined words with a different word or phrase. This exercise should be done in pairs.
AUTUMN IN OCTOBER
October is the month of fire. The leaves turn to magma-reds, hot-oranges and fever-yellows. The forest becomes a riot of colour and hard nuts thunk-thunk-thunk to the ground. Squirrels scrabble and claw through the crackly leaves, hoping to get one last bounty.
The sun is cold and pale, throwing down weak lances of light. The sun-spears do not reach the sooty heart of the forest, which is rayless and eerie. The moon comes out and creates a dome of soft light over the trees. It is a moth-moon and it hangs in the sky, as bloodless as a glowing pearl. Behind it, the sky is inky and the stars flash silver like ice-sparks.
When the squirrels go to their mossy beds, there is no sound in the forest. There is no insect-hum, no leaf-rustle, no wind-music. Instead, strange shapes appear, dancing in and out of focus. The sound of human voices breaks through the quiet glade. They carry torches which look like a row of fireflies. Bulls bellow, sheep bleat and dogs bark. It is October 31st, 500 B.C. in a forest in Wicklow.
The men are wearing the heads of deer, wolves and bear. Their voices are low and hushed and are grit-and-gravel deep. They do not shout as the souls of their ancestors are returning to the forest for this one night. Halloween is the night when the door to the Otherworld is open and evil spirits can be seen by the human eye. It is the only night where the Celts are afraid of the dark. A huge bonfire is lit and the struggling animals are sacrificed.
Three cups are passed around. One contains wine, one contains apple cider and one contains wheat beer with honey. Each Celt takes a mouthful and their voices rise higher and higher until the druid tells them to be quiet. He chants some spells and he banishes the fairies, the banshees and the shape shifters from the forest. Now they celebrate the end of the harvest and feast the night away. For in their calendar, tomorrow is the first day of winter, and tough times are ahead.
AUTUMN IN NOVEMBER
The leaf-stripping winds pass through the forest. They shriek and moan, making the branches creak and crack. The trees look like skeletons and the forest floor is covered in piles of mulch. The bitter winds are an omen for an even deadlier enemy coming to the forest.
Jack Frost’s glassy fingers are beginning to creep across the land. The first signs can be seen on the meadow grass. Dawn frost carpets the grass like frozen pixie-dust. It gleams like a million fallen stars. The trees are leaking orange blood and the scent of amber hangs in the air. Pine sap and wood gum ooze from the bark and the forest fills with its minty smell.
The lonely mountains are weighed down by a sky-bucket of snow. Smoke rises from sleepy villages and the sky turns a grim, ash-grey. Only the Jesus bird, the robin, wants to sing any more. He flies onto the highest branch and opens his beak, flooding the forest with his music. Although the winter will be tough, he knows that spring is only a short hop away. The forest goes to sleep for the winter, shrinking and tucking itself in. Only the robin is left to witness its cruelty.
- Which of the 3 monthly descriptions did you enjoy the most? Explain why.
- Try to replace the underlined words with a different word or phrase. Do this in pairs.
- Pick out the best three sentences and say why you liked them.
- Try to identify 5 metaphors and 5 similes in the passages.
- If you had to add 5 sentences, what would they be and where would you put them?
I hope you enjoyed the post.
You may decide to add more questions to the ones above. This is an extract from a new educational book. It is the prequel to ‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ and is designed for the first year of secondary school.
For more information on my books, just click on the book images below. It will take you into the Amazon.co.uk book site.