Right on schedule, it would seem, the coolness of Autumn has arrived. We’ve turned off the air-conditioning in our home, but the heat button is off too. A few strategic window openings make for a wonderful night’s sleep.
On Tuesday night, I took Riley the dog out for his nightly sniff-around through the neighborhood and, as soon as I stepped out the front door, it hit me. The night air was not just cool. It was bordering on chilly. Now, it wasn’t so cold I felt the need to go back inside and retrieve a jacket – the moderate exercise of walking was enough to keep me comfortable. But I realized, fall was here.
That’s a great thing for so many reasons, and not just for the brief utility savings. Plant life around here goes out in a blaze of glory. It’s gorgeous to see, despite the fact that it lasts for just a short while. I was talking to my cousin’s husband last weekend and he mentioned that he will be raking leaves every weekend for the next month or so. Not me. I prefer to let God take care of the leaves in my yard. Interestingly, He does. Every year. And by not raking leaves every Saturday for five or six weeks, I get to enjoy other aspects of Autumn. Fall, of course, is football season. I don’t go to very many games any more except for high school tilts, but this fall, I will rejoin a host of friends from my college days as we gather at Carter-Finley Stadium for a reunion and a ball game.
Just anticipating the event makes me excited and brings back a flood of very good memories as I remember some of the Wolfpack’s wins over teams like East Carolina and South Carolina. The wild celebrations that ensued were great fun and the friendships we cemented at football games have lasted ever since.
The fall also brings remarkable color to North Carolina’s mountains most years. Next month I will take a group of Rotary Youth Exchange students from places like Iceland, Argentina, Italy and Brazil to our mountains to give them a new view of the Old North State’s natural beauty. Situated where we are, most of us tend to think of the beach as the primo place to go for a weekend getaway or a summer vacation. But I would argue that climbing Round Bald or Jane’s Bald on the Appalachian Trail at Roan Mountain offers some of the most spectacular views you’ll ever see, especially during the fall when the beauty of nature is on full display.
And while all those things will be fun, one of the best parts of fall will be simply sitting on my front porch, looking out over the lawn of the church across the street from our home, and craning my neck to see the beauty of the leaves right here in Wake County. It will be peaceful. It will bring me closer to nature and it will relax me like perhaps no other season of the year possibly can.