Making the Most of Autumn

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,

We have had our summer evenings; now, for October eves!”

~Humbert Wolfe

I live for fall. I love the crisp, cool mornings and the smell of bonfires at night, the skittering sound of crunchy leaves blowing along sidewalks and driveways, and the aroma of apples enveloped in cinnamon and nutmeg gently winding its way through the house. The turning of the leaves, spreading brilliant reds, decadent oranges, deep russets, and glowing coppers through the bluffs, is simply divine, and calls us out to take long, meandering drives on weekend afternoons, simply to soak in the beauty of the changing foliage.

I have some friends who view autumn as a dreary and dismal time of year. “Oh, it’s so sad to see the lush green of summer wane,” I’ve heard. “It’s always a pity when the flowers start to go.” They claim the air is a bit nippy, the mornings are a tad too chilly for getting out of bed, and the darkening days point ominously toward the cold and snow that will soon come. Maybe all this is true. But I’m a four season type, one who embraces the cycles and changes each season brings. Long, cold days of snow might be coming, but for right now, I’m celebrating fall! And over the years, especially since I’ve become a parent, it has become an exercise in making the very most of a short and unpredictable season. Just how much can we fit into the span of time between the end of summer and the first snowflakes of winter? A lot.

The pumpkins have been placed on the front step. A friendly scarecrow stands vigil in the front lawn. Maggie and I hit the mall and may have spent just a tad too much on fall scented candles (but can one ever have too many fall candles, I ask you?). The kids and I have made no less than a half dozen stops at the apple orchard so far, and Maggie is keeping close tabs on which apple varieties are peeking each week. Our weekend trail ride is scheduled and the kids are excitedly chattering about what color horses they’re likely to end up with. Hike through the woods? Check. Leaf-gathering afternoon? Check. Bonfires with s’mores and football in the park? Whenever we can. We are soaking in the season!

While I can’t imagine anyone needing an excuse to get outdoors, or suggestions on fall to-do lists, see below for a list of fall-friendly activities:

  •       Visit an apple orchard and pick a bushel or two
  •       Hayride!
  •       Take to the hiking trails. Gather leaves and identify.
  •       Horseback riding on wooded trails
  •       Take in a scarecrow festival
  •       Afternoon of canoeing
  •       Pumpkin carving
  •       Go for a drive
  •       Rake. Form Pile. Jump. Repeat.
  •       Tour a winery
  •       Build a bonfire
  •       Play football with the neighborhood kids. Follow it up with a chili dinner and a bonfire.
  •       Get lost in a corn maze
  •       Hit an area Fall Festival or art fair

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