When the Leaves Commence to Fall

I love the Fall season. Since I was young, the Fall season represented extra trips into the mountains to hunt, explore, gather wood, and spend time with mountain people. As I grew older, it became a time to be in the wilderness when few if any other people were there. I came to anticipate and celebrate the solitude, the fall colors, the cold nights and cool days, the heavy frosts and early snows. When I lived in northern Idaho, added to this list of Fall pleasantness was the nearly annual “second summer” that came in October. This was a two-to-six week time of pleasant, warmer days perfect for going into the wilds for wood gathering and exploring.

Few people wrote about the fall season as eloquently as Aldo Leopold in “A Sand County Almanac.” His memorable account of late Fall wood cutting excursion and all the thoughts that it engendered was by itself worth the purchase of the book. If you get a chance to read this book, it is a great conservation conversation. Hat tip to my long-time wilderness friend, Bill Friesen, for turning me on to this book.

Below is a brief poem regarding the superior joy of the Fall season, “When the Leaves Commence to Fall,” by James W. Whilt.

When the days commence to shorten

And the nights are getting long,

And we miss the flies and skeeters

And the song birds’ sweetest song.

To some the summer’s passing

Leaves the world a darker hue,

But to me it makes it brighter,

Just the same as if ’twas new.

As I say, some people hate it

But I love it best of all;

When the nights are getting frosty

And the leaves commence to fall.

Early Fall and Mt. Conness, Yosemite National Park. My long-time wilderness partner, Doug (r), and I on the day before a scramble to the top
Image via LearningMind.com

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