Things To Do While Waiting For Nature’s Bonus Round

Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, and for many of us who enjoy four seasons, summer has ended. Oh, sure, she’ll linger for a little while like a damp firecracker that spurts one last courageous spark and then sits there threatening to pop—but she’s spent, and she’s truly unable to produce another bang. Soon she’ll simply whimper and limp away, gray and exhausted, same as last year. She has been worn out by too many rainbows and too many long, warm, peaceful nights full of stars and hopes and dreams. Summer doesn’t fade—she steps into the shadows to catch her breath.

And then hoary winter turns breezes into blizzards. Days shorten, and the sun becomes shy as we fatten the layers of clothing to keep the last remaining breaths of summer from escaping. Colors disappear, and the whole outdoors temporarily becomes a bland, bitter, boring place to avoid.

I love winter as much as I hate winter. I love how the cold shakes me, and reminds me that nature could crush us at any time. Winter lingers like an embarrassingly unwelcome guest. He is much like outpatient surgery without anesthesia—you dread the trip to the clinic, and it can hurt like hell, but you know that no physical pain ever lasts forever, and that knowledge makes you very strong. Then, once you’ve learned to deactivate the discomfort, it’s gone forever. You can’t remember winter with the same vivid intensity that you can remember spring.

Winter promises that his storms and frost will press the reset button and reestablish the natural balance between crops and pests, and between weeds and flowers. For those of us who seek beauty in all things, fall is Nature’s Bonus Round. The consolation prize? Beautiful colorful leaves.

Over the next few weeks I plan to make this blog explore many of the things you can do—things that I am doing—while waiting for the most glorious event of the year: autumn leaves at their peak.