Fall Back

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My favorite season has arrived. Fall is the most glorious time in the Midwest. The riot of color that began slowly around the time of the autumn equinox has taken over the leafy arches of trees that line the streets of town.

In a good year, fall creeps up on you. September days are warm, but the nights are pleasantly cool. The kids have gotten into the rhythm of school days. Honeycrisp apples fill the produce bins in grocery stores. The pumpkin spice latte makes its annual appearance on coffee bar menus.

As the season progresses, more serious sweater weather appears. It’s good football weather, and games go on under the Friday night lights at high schools across the country. Suddenly homemade soup and chili recipes become appealing. Even the furnace occasionally kicks on.

Today on my morning walk, the air was crisp, the sun shone on the golden and crimson trees, and the smell of crunchy brown fallen leaves filled the air. It promises to be one of those rare warm autumn days that pop up in the fall to give us one last taste of summer.

Nevertheless, there is a tinge of sadness to fall. The chill in the air and encroaching darkness presage the coming winter. By November, most of the leaves will have fallen, leaving the trees naked and forlorn. That’s why I love fall. It is a bittersweet time and a last hurrah before the long winter, as expressed by the following poem.

October
Helen Hunt Jackson

Bending above the spicy woods which blaze,
Arch skies so blue they flash, and hold the sun
Immeasurably far; the waters run
Too slow, so freighted are the river-ways
With gold of elms and birches from the maze
Of forests. Chestnuts, clicking one by one,
Escape from satin burs; her fringes done,
The gentian spreads them out in sunny days,
And, like late revelers at dawn, the chance
Of one sweet, mad, last hour, all things assail,
And conquering, flush and spin; while, to enhance
The spell, by sunset door, wrapped in a veil
Of red and purple mists, the summer, pale,
Steals back alone for one more song and dance.

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