Everything changes when the season changes. In fall, the nights cool down, the yellow leaves flutter to the ground in batches, the daylight shortens and that hint of chill in the air makes me reach for a wool cardigan. The scents of wood burning and over ripe apples drifts about. General agreement on the start of fall season centers on the autumnal equinox. But I listen for fall with my ears: the geese squawking, the rustle of dry leaves, and the silence left behind by the now hibernating lawnmowers.
This is the season that calls me to take long walks: around a pond, or a reservoir, or along a river. Always near water and trees. The combination of warm fall colors and the sound of water lapping soothes me and prepares me for the coming winter which, where I live, is sparkling white and frozen. The sun has a softer light now, more gentle than the blazing summer sun. The flowers in the garden slowly retreat, their leaves limp and brown-tipped. The vegetables are sturdier, especially the root vegetables burrowed into the ground that show only their aboveground greenery: the ferny carrot tops and the fat potato leaves.
I savor the perfect temperatures, the blue sky, the harvest from the garden, and the last blooming flower, the purple coneflowers. I hurry to complete my outdoor projects before the cold sets in. At dusk I turn on the lights in the house. It seems too early to need them, but it is dark well before my bedtime. Besides, I need time to adjust from the long summer days. In fall, the hours of daylight shrink noticeably each day until December when the dark outweighs the light. And then the process rewinds. Always changing, each season in its turn. Fall is a time with its own changes: the active, outer summer life to a quieter, inner life, still warm days but cold nights, the growing season to the harvest. This is the season when it is easy to offer gratitude for the earth’s bounty that sustains us.