Fall, Before It’s Over

Fall colors…. so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary. ~Siobhan Vivian, bestselling American novelist

The estimated peak time for Fall color in Central Illinois is mid-October, but I’ve found that estimate to be off by a bit this year.

Still, all one has to do is get outside — regardless of cold, rain, and the urge to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate! — and the trees are ready to strut their stuff. Take a look and enjoy!

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Taking a Fall Walk

Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him. ~Hal Borland, American author and journalist

This past weekend was spectacular, just perfect for a long walk outdoors. Come with me, and I’ll show you some of the gorgeous Fall colors in Central Illinois!

We’ll start with a glorious maple in a red dress:

fall16o

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Cheery Cherry

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other. ~Arthur Rubinstein, Polish American classical pianist

Sometimes, we get lucky and find a tree that’s beautiful in all seasons. Such is the case with our Weeping Cherry.

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What Happened to our Summers?

I used to look forward to summer.

When I was a kid, summer meant outside — no vegetating in front of the TV for us!

That long expanse of time between the end of one school year and the beginning of another found us getting together with friends, playing games and jacks, dancing to music. We’d buy frosty milkshakes from the ice cream vendor who scouted the neighborhoods, swim in our city’s pool, and play hours of tennis.

The days were long and sunny. Who cared if they were hot? Just wait around a while and a raging cold front would come through, driving temperatures back into the comfortable range, moistening the ground, pruning a few trees, and wiping away the humidity.

Nights would find us catching fireflies in jars (with holes poked in the lids so the bugs could breathe!). We’d ride our bikes to a friend’s house, play softball in a vacant lot, and enjoy the lingering daylight.

So what happened?

I’m not sure. The Weather Channel hasn’t addressed this, and I haven’t seen anything in our newspaper or on TV or the Internet to explain it.

Somewhere along the line, our weather has changed.

Our summers have become fierce, with tons of rain, violent storms, high temperatures, and unbearable humidity. When cold fronts come through nowadays, like as not they’ll kick our power out, cause the tornado sirens to wail, knock down shade trees, and finally spent, leave destruction, flooding, and more high temps and humidity in their wake.

Spring used to be our stormy season, but its days were short and we were in school. Once spring flew away, the days lengthened into summer, and we raced outside to enjoy every minute.

Hard to enjoy summer anymore.

We’ve had the rainiest June and July on record, I think. As soon as winter’s snow melted, we found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a season that seems confused whether it’s “spring” or “summer”!

Maybe we’ll just have to look to autumn as our peaceful season from now on.