What is "Afteryear"?
Being from Denmark, I did not grow up as a native english-speaker. Therefore I am often in doubt whether to use autumn or fall to describe the season between summer's end and winter's start. To avoid any confusion I will use a direct translation of the Danish word for the season: Afteryear (spring, in comparison would translate to Pre-year).
So, what is is that makes Afteryear so great?
Tree and Leaf
Afteryear is the season where the trees and forests are at their most magnificent. Green colors slowly give way to yellow, red, brown and golden.
In Denmark, birch is the first to turn, starting already in late summer. During the next few months the other trees follow one after the other. Maple in particular can be colorful, with leaves in dark red, orange and pink.
Beech is a common tree in danish forests. In Afteryear they shed their copper-brown leaves in large piles between the silver-grey stems. The sound of walking through these piles is very satisfying, and very much Afteryear.
Sun and Howling Winds
Once summer is definitely over, and Afteryear arrives, it is also time for sudden changes in weather.
One day the sun is shining, the temperature is high (at least in early Afteryear), and birds are singing as they fly. Next day a howling gale is blowing, rain is pouring down, and the temperature drops sharply. This is followed by a new day with heavy fogs that muffle all sound, and where trees and houses jump out at you unexpectedly. Above the fog the sky is a bright blue, and as soon as the sun arrives the fog evaporates. The air is cool, but the sunshine warms your skin.
And then it rains again.
New growth also happens in Afteryear: Mushrooms. In large numbers they appear on the lawn, in rings that grow larger year by year
In the forests on old beeches oyster mushrooms appear. In a few weeks they grow to almost the size of a dinner plate. They are edible, with a nice taste and more bite than champignons. On the ground you can find chanterelle, another delicious mushroom, if you know where to look.
Many other mushrooms make an appearance. Most of them are not edible, but they can be quite pitoresque.
Birds, Birds, Birds
Among my personal favorites of Afteryear are the many migrating birds. On a sunny day in late Afteryear you can see large flocks of geese, in characteristic V-shapes, flapping across the sky. The air is filled with the sound of 'honk', while thousands of birds pass overhead.
Sometimes the geese settle for a short lunchbreak on a field nearby, where you can watch them in detail through a pair of binoculars. But if you come too close then suddenly there is a great 'woosh' as a thousand pairs of wings flap simulateously, and all the birds take to the air.
In southern Jutland you can get lucky and see the phenomena called Black Sun, or 'Sort Sol' in danish. This is caused by large flocks of starling - a small black bird. They fly so close to one another that you lose sight of the individual birds, and instead see them as a single shape, stretching, bending and flowing across the sky. You can see Black Sun in the video below (not of my make, but beautiful).