In praise of Autumn

Those who know me also know that I don’t like Fall much, mainly because it leads to winter, which I really, really don’t like. But there are some things about Autumn that I do love. So, as the last of the leaves are falling to the ground, it is time to celebrate Autumn.

  1. The temperatures:  Summer’s humidity and high temperatures tend to get a bit tiresome by September, so I welcome the lower temperatures of the season. I love “sweater weather” and sitting in the stands watching a soccer (football, too, on occasion) game when the weather is cooler. There’s nothing better than a watching my favorite team (win of course) with a blanket over my lap, and a mug of hot chocolate in my hands. Go, Quakers!
  2. Nature’s beauty:  Autumn in Kentucky is so beautiful! Every year we hear from the media that this year we will not experience the pretty colors of Fall like in years past. There numerous excuses — drought,  rain,  wind, heat, whatever. Yet, year after year, the colors of Autumn amaze me.  This year is no exception. I love the oranges, the yellows, the reds of Autumn, and marvel at the divine plan of it all. I know that there is a great scientific explanation about why the colors change, and why they change to red or yellow or orange.  But I like to think that God made it thus so we would experience the enjoyment of the change of seasons.  I believe the same thing about flowers. They could all be one color and be pollinated just the same, but they aren’t. Why? For our enjoyment, that’s why.
  3. Apple Season: When October arrives, I must go to an Apple Orchard to get some apples. It is a ritual that I cannot miss! A fresh apple straight from the orchard just tastes better than any other apple, whether eaten raw or cooked. I love to bite into my first Orchard Apple of the season. Then I make stewed apples, apple crisp, apples with brie, and any number of other scrumptious dishes as the mood strikes and the apples hold out. Yum!
  4. Thanksgiving: I just love Thanksgiving. I love cooking my family’s favorite dishes (and mine). I love the time we spend together doing nothing in particular. I love that once the eating is done, there is no pressure.  No presents to buy, no religious sensitivities to tread, no rushing to this party or that. Just time to spend together, and maybe taking in a football game or two on television.  And I like the leftovers, too!

I may hate winter, but for now I will relish these last few weeks of Autumn. Anyone care for an apple?


I achieved my undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky (a long time ago). I came to UK as a transfer student, so I didn’t get to partake in all the freshman stuff. But still it was a great experience. The shear size of UK overwhelmed me, coming from a small

town as I did. I vividly recall walking from my dorm on the edge of campus (Blanding Tower, if you know UK) to central campus, where most of my classes were.  That walk was long, took forever, especially in the winter. The expanse between buildings was wide and the buildings were all huge.

That was how I remember it, anyway.

Then, this week, I had the time and opportunity to walk that same route again. The memories that came flowing out were rich and rewarding.  But the revelations about all the time that has passed since those daily walks were even better. Here are some of the more significant of those revelations:

  1. What seemed huge at 20, now seems rather normally sized. Those huge buildings with wide lawns separating them? They now seem rather small. It is experience that changed my perspective. Growing up in a small town, my world experience at 20 was of small buildings and small spaces. Everything seemed big and scary as I headed to the big university. Now, having visited many of the world’s largest cities with its large buildings and expansive lawns, UK’s central campus seems very quaint and welcoming.
  2. I felt a certain kinship with all the students I passed on my trip through campus. I was a bit embarrassed as I realized I expected to see someone I knew. I became a 20 year old student again during that walk, remembering my days on campus, the classes I took (and skipped), the friends, the football games, the weekend parties. All of a sudden I was transported to that time in my life, but with the perspective of a 50 something professional, and I liked what I saw.
  3. The things that seem scary will soon become familiar, even comfortable. Experience teaches us to lose the fear and embrace the adventure. I am still not a particularly adventurous soul, but I am less afraid of the unknown than I ever have been.  Perhaps I know I will survive, despite my fears. And perhaps I have begun to appreciate the rush that comes with fear conquered.
  4. We should stop and appreciate our experiences more often. I had meant to walk through that campus for many years, but just never found the time. Why is that?  A half hour out of my life is a small thing, but that half hour brought me much pleasure.  I won’t wait another 35 years, and I will be more likely to “waste” time with other simple pleasures, too.

What have you been meaning to do and have just not “had the time” for?  Is now the time?