Autumn RoadCredit: Photos by Paul Anderson

     The air is crisp at night and the days are pleasant for activities.  Fall is in full swing and for many of us it is a welcome change after the humid summer that we have experienced this year.  Fall is a wonderful time of the year because our visual landscape transforms into a canvas of intoxicating colors that calms the mind and soothes the soul.  It is the time of year when couples cuddle a little closer due to the chill in the night air, and the children become increasingly excited about the upcoming holidays.  During this transition, the cosmos begins to lay the groundwork for bedding the earth down for the winter in anticipation of the beginnings of a new year.

     The season is actually known as autumn, but here in the states this time of year is referred to as fall.  The name comes from the breathtaking autumn foliage falling to the ground.  Harvest was the name of this time of year during the 16th century due to the theme of the season.  This term soon fell out of popularity after more families migrated to the nearby towns and lived less off of the land. 

     During the initial change of the season, day and night become equal.  Gradually, as the season progresses, the nights grow longer and the days get shorter until the winter solstice has arrived.  Even though we have to say goodbye to those long summer nights, this is the perfect time of the year to gather around outdoor fires with family or friends.  Beer and barbecues are quickly replaced with hot toddies and warm stews by the hearth.  Outdoor activities slowly transitions into communal gatherings and intimate conversations.  It is a time of rest and reflection before the winter makes us return indoors until the spring arrives.

Fall Holidays

     So what makes fall so special.  Well it is the beginning of some of the most anticipated holidays of the year.  It is that fun time of the year to change the appearance of our landscapes and decorate for Halloween.  Preparing for this holiday offers something for the young as well as the older folks.  Children and teens carefully plan out their Halloween themes and costumes.  Adults get ready of those costume parties too.  Families can come together and carve pumpkins while preparing for the ghoulish night to arrive.  No sooner than this event has come and gone Thanksgiving preparations are in quickly underway.  The favorite feast of the year is just around the corner.  Often time family members travel great distances to be together for this very special event.

Fall Travel

     Fall is a wonderful time of the year for travel.  Photo opportunities are endless as the colorful foliage paints a picturesque landscape at every corner.  A trip to the mountains can offer a serene escape to a beautiful wonderland.  If that is not in your budget, then stop at a nearby lake for a nice picnic and take in the views.  For those that are still yearning for those summer days, this is a great time to visit the beaches and vacation at tremendous discounts.  At destinations such as Hawaii, northern swells are perfect for those die hard surfers.  For others, the beaches are not so crowded during the fall, and the temperatures are still warm enough for swimming and outdoor activities.

Fall Planting

     Fall is also the perfect time of year for planting bulbs.  You need to choose different varieties for color from spring to late summer.  Varieties such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips to name a few will provide different bloom times for never ending color in the garden.  Choose your bulbs and get them in the ground no later than October.  This will allow them time to develop a root system before the spring.  This is also the time of year to purchase mums and pansies for instant color.  After the mums bloom, you should cut them back and cover them, and they will return next fall.  Pansies will provide color during the winter months.  This is also the time of the year to add mulch to those plants that need protection against the freezing winter temperatures that will soon be here.

     Everyone can find something to be excited about this season.  Whether it be travel, food, holidays, or the intimacy of the change in atmosphere there are still many activities to look forward to at this time.  Discover what makes fall special for you by exploring different events in your area and get out and enjoy yourself before old man winter comes knocking at the door.