Each season of the year, which is easily identified in a climate like North Dakota’s, has its unique and wonderful appeal. But, for me, fall is a favorite time of year, and the longer the fall season the better.
Sure, autumn means that summer activities have come to a close and winter is approaching, accompanied by all its uncertainties. Maybe that’s what makes this time of year so special – a fleeting chance to appreciate our wonderful outdoors before pulling over the blanket of winter.
Autumn adds grand color to the landscape. Green leaves become brilliant hues of yellow and red. Reflections on still water is stunning. The sounds of distant geese are pleasing to the ear. So too is the whistling of duck’s wings on calm evenings.
Outdoors in North Dakota there’s no roar of the crowd, line at the cashier counter, or waiting in traffic. Only the perfect surroundings that autumn always delivers.
Watch leaves fall from trees. Listen to the sounds of nature. Go fishing. Step into a covey of upland game birds. Watch deer crest a hilltop. See hawks gently float above a meadow. Relish cool, clear night skies. Take a dog outside for a run.
Autumn is when a stubble field glows in the late afternoon sun. Waterfowl rest, heads under their wings, on the receding shorelines of potholes. Tracks of the fox and coyote are visible in the dried mud. Sunflowers hang their heads.
Vehicle heaters are needed in the morning, but give way to air conditioning in the afternoon. A warm jacket that was fitting attire in the a.m. is later tossed aside as temperatures rise, then put on again as the sun begins to set. That's autumn at its best.
Distinctly changing seasons is a North Dakota treasure. Unquestionably, each season of the year has its own appeal and stable of admirers. There are special rewards to all of them – winter, spring, summer, and fall.
As I walk outdoors I sometimes think about fossils I’ve found, reminders that a good portion of our state was once a tropical rain forest, very much different from what it is today. The message is that earth’s climate has been changing for millions of years and will continue to do so. Sure, we can treat our planet better, and should, but you can’t legislate against the wind.
While autumn is a favorite of mine, I’m grateful for all the seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall. Spring brings with it new outlooks, new promises of better days ahead, a new beginning. Summer is a time to enjoy what spring so wonderfully began. Fall provides a marvelous backdrop in which to admire our surroundings, to remind us to say thanks more often. Winter is always a mixture of the pleasant and the harsh, yet a season that assuredly isn't devoid of its own appeal.
For me though, it is autumn that nudges out the other seasons for my favorite time of the year. It is too short sometimes, but never too long.
Live it. Feel it. Absorb it. That's what autumn is, the most splendid time of the year.