This is a time of transition.
Daylight fades more each day as the sun rises later and sets a bit sooner.
The weather constantly varies. It’s 60 one day, below zero the next. We go for hikes in t-shirts then feel the crunch of thick frost under our boots.
It’s not really fall anymore. Fall is when the leaves change, when the air feels crisp but still kind, when we’re tired of summer heat but not worried about winter’s chill. We can still sleep in tents just a few weekends more in the fall. We can eat picnics on tailgates or perched on rocks. That is fall. We’re not in that fall anymore, not really.
But we’re also not into winter.
Just as fall makes sense with its pumpkins, scarecrows and big game seasons. Winter makes sense for its deep snow, long nights and cozy evenings cupping hot chocolate.
It’s easy to hate this time of year, to write it off as a shoulder season – too cold and unpredictable to hike or fish, too warm and muddy to ski or snowmobile.
Or we can take a minute to listen to the frost crunching under our boots. We can look closer at the cattails in the early morning and notice impossibly small ice crystals clinging to impossibly small seeds. We can marvel at the sun casting long shadows over the prairie, lighting the grass ablaze each night in a show that won’t last much longer. We can notice the details instead of dwelling on the in-between, the transition, the uncomfortable.
Go outside, on your porch, in a park, or to the prairie on the edge of town. Look for pheasants and watch your dog work the willows, reeds and cottonwoods. Wander through foothills, cliffs and breaks to find chukars and huns.
Soon it will be too snowy for golden light on the plains and too cold to toss decoys into open water on a lake.
Savor this transition, for it, too, will pass.
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