It seems to me that this time of year — early fall — provides us with powerful reminders of what a delightful, attractive part of this remarkable country we live in hereabouts.
That’s the thought that struck me recently as we were driving along a two-lane country road. The day was absolutely beautiful with warm, not hot, sunshine, a bit of a breeze, low humidity, and a few puffy white clouds lazing about in the blue sky. On one side of the road we could see a partially harvested corn field that stretched to the horizon. In the distance we could see what looked like a small dust cloud in the corn field indicating where the corn was being picked and a couple of huge trucks for transporting the crop.
On the other side of the road was a huge field of soybeans — also in the process of being harvested. What an impressive sight reminding us of just one feature of our rural/small town environment that makes living here so pleasant. On that same trip, we spotted the first tree we had seen all of whose leaves had turned completely red — a harbinger (that’s a $2 word meaning “forerunner, clue, indicator”) of the riot of fall colors that will decorate our trees before long. In the meantime we are still enjoying a variety of flowers adorning our yards — some continuing from summer plantings while others, such as mums, are fall seasonal.
Our front yard geraniums, and marigolds as well as our patio petunias continue to flourish although they require watering to compensate for the lack of rain. We expect to continue appreciating these beauties of nature for several weeks during this time of transition from the heat of summer to the killing frosts to come. However, this is also the perfect time for planting those bulbs for spring flowers. Gotta get those in before the weather turns too cold. These warm days and cool evenings also lend themselves to a variety of outdoor activities — despite the restrictions imposed by the virus.
We see moms and dads and their young children strolling along the neighborhood sidewalks, youngsters “shooting hoops” using driveway or street pole-mounted backboards and baskets, and couples sitting in front of their homes just enjoying the weather. Then, too, folks are using this delightful stretch of weather to tidy up some of those outdoor chores that were postponed during the summer heat. I’m finally getting around to repainting our shed — a job that’s much easier this time of year. Football, of course, looms big among fall sports. The lower humidity this time of year enhances the value of afternoon practices. Most of all, those Friday night high school games fit well into the weather pattern — not too hot and not too cold. Players can build up a good healthy sweat without concern for heat-related problems and fans can keep warm without having to resort to heavy coats or parkas. For these few weeks, this is pretty much ideal for football. This is also ideal weather for golf — both for individuals and for team play. The fairways are hard which contributes to getting a good bounce and roll and the greens are fast — which may or not be an advantage. Kind of depends on how well a player can handle a putter. High school soccer is also in full swing for both boys and girls teams. This sport, which is increasingly popular, is best played in fair weather on a good surface — and that’s what this time of year provides.
One set of early fall activities that is missing this year — the various festivals. These are always fun with lots of stuff going on and plenty of interesting food. Unfortunately, the virus threat has done away with them for this year — but there has arisen another activity that this short stretch of great weather assists. Yep, We are seeing a new type of activity where weather can either put a damper on or permit it to flourish — it’s the protest marches and gatherings.
Yep, we are witnessing these exercises regularly — sometimes repeated every weekend. The participants are rallying in support of something or against something else — but whatever the cause they are very vocal with cheer-like chants and dynamic with vigorous sign waving. This time of year is sure ideal for such behavior.
Well, there’s lots more that could be said about this truly delightful time of year we enjoy in these parts but this is the essence of the subject. We are still enjoying the remains of late summer such as some vegetables from our gardens while the wind pattern has shifted so we don’t have the oppressive heat and humidity we had earlier. Oh, yes, these warm days and cool nights couldn’t be better.
At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a regular contributing columnist and local area resident, may be contacted at [email protected]