The nights are cooler and the mornings often fog shrouded. Spider webs woven during the night are easily seen by dawn as they are heavily laden with glistening dew drops. I find the newly spun webs stretched between tree branches and an obscure ground anchor as I walk with Charley the yellow lab before sunrise. The moisture laden web is cold as I break the arachnid’s handiwork with my face sending a shiver around my neck.
Bright orange pumpkins are making their way onto roadside markets and local home decorations. Farmers are harvesting soybeans & corn. And there is the first tinge of red, orange and gold in plants just a few weeks ago were a lush green.
Such are the days of October. And thus begins my favorite time of the year. It’s not that I relish the idea of passing of summer’s growing life, but the seasons are a part of a master process and each has its purpose, as Ecclesiastes tells us.
I suppose it’s the sensory beauty the autumn that appeals to me. The harmonies of russet and earth colors taking over a landscape that was predominantly green. Trees and plants of hills and valleys which formerly looked like emerald earthborne clouds, magically show their individually unique character as the green fades to reveal brilliant and subdued warm tones of fall.
The cool temperatures may send a sudden shiver when you first exit your home in the morning. But, to me, its a invigorating chill as I breathe deep and take in the musky, grainy menu of aromas of harvested crops, burning leaves and ripened late summer fruits.
If there is a downside to this time of year, it would have to be the yellow jackets. The cool weather causes these sweet-loving, short-tempered barbtails to become a bit too curious and friendly for my liking. I must be careful as I do some early fall yardwork. Not paying attention with a lawnrake can send you scurrying for cover with a number of riled yellow jackets in angry pursuit.
I must confess that I enjoy an occasional whiff of the acrid smoke of burning maple, oak, pine and the plethora of leaves. It’s a sign of the season; sort of like the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and sugar cookies baking at Christmas.
But just mowing the leaves until they are ground up is more environmentally responsible as it leaves the leaves to nourish next spring’s lawn and garden.
But before all of that, be sure to soak in as much of the fall sensory menu as you can. An afternoon drive through the hills of Jackson or nearby Washington County can match any of the highly touted (and much congested) scenery of Brown County. And if the length of excursion doesn’t fit your schedule, then maybe an inspection of the backroads of Vernon Township will.