Archive for Thursday, October 7, 2010

Enjoy the fall season before winter kicks in

October 7, 2010

We are connoisseurs of fall at our house. Not long after the autumnal equinox, we plant the chrysanthemums and put out pumpkins and other seasonal accoutrements.

How we revel in the bracing, cool nights and these wonderful, lazy days when the sun’s warmth is comforting rather than oppressive — when it feels good again to be out in the sun.

Fall is one of nature’s special gifts that we can enjoy whether we deserve it or not. Thankfully, it’s not something you have to earn.

As I drive around town, I see that the leaves are beginning to turn. Some of the trees just around the corner from our house have begun to show their autumn colors.

If the normal rules about cool nights and warm days hold true, we should be able to expect good fall color this year, at least in neighborhoods with a good supply of maples and other colorful trees.

I know the science — that, as the days become shorter and the trees get ready for winter their chlorophyll disappears, making visible the brighter colors that have been there all along. I know that the reds and oranges come from sugars trapped in the leaves. But I really prefer to think of it as the magic of autumn.

It’s a time for harvesting apples and for nights when you can smell the wood smoke as people begin to use their fireplaces that have lain cold all summer. Soon it will be time for Halloween, and visits by the neighborhood hobgoblins.

In the mean time, I tend the bird feeders out back and wait. Soon, as the birds sense the changing of the seasons they’ll come in greater numbers with greater frequency. Right now I’m replenishing the feeders about once a week; before long, they’ll need filling every day.

In the water garden the fish are not so active as the cooler water has slowed their metabolism. I still feed them a little each day, but I hardly ever see them any more. Soon, as the water temperature gets even colder, it will be time to stop feeding altogether.

Of course I prefer not to think about what comes next: winter. Soon, the bright leaves will all be gone from the trees and blowing around the yard. Soon, the nights will be cold rather than cool and even the days will be cool. Before long it may even snow. The coming of winter brings its own rewards, surely, even though we’d like to put it off as long as possible.

But all that is in the future. For now, enjoy the fall.

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