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“What do you call the season between summer and winter?”

A friend posed this question a few weeks ago when the weather cooled and my immediate response was, “Fall. Why?” Shame on me, because I knew better, even as the question left my lips. For the next 10 minutes I was on the receiving end of a polite lecture on the barbarism that is the word “fall”. As well-meaning as she may have been, Autumn is a girl I graduated with, so…fall it is.

Cruel Summer…

That said, I’m just going to put this out there: I’m actually happy that summer is over. Now don’t be upset. We all have our favorite seasons and I know plenty of folks who are already wishing time away while they pine for next summer. I’m not one of those people, but I won’t hold it against you if you are.

Please don’t get me wrong. When I say I’m “happy”, I don’t mean I’m a full-on, wide-open, in-your-face kind of happy. But as someone who loves fall, I’m glad that the weeks of 95+ degrees and 80% humidity are behind us. I’d rather hear the crunch of fallen leaves under my feet instead of the crunch of baked grass.

Fall Again…

To me, fall is all the good things. The gorgeous colors, the crisp air, huddling around campfires, fall festivals and food. Definitely the food. I’m not sure what it is, but something happens that makes pot roast taste better in October than it does in June. The same can be said for beans and cornbread, chicken and dumplings and beef stew. These are my go-to comfort foods, yet I don’t make them the rest of the year. Oh sure, I’ll make soups and stews through most of the winter. But once spring starts sniffing at the door, it’s like a switch gets flipped. I go from hunker-down meals to fresh-and-light meals. What’s up with that? No one has ever said I can’t make my mama’s green bean casserole in July, yet I don’t do it.

Take the Long Way Home…

The beauty of fall is one of my favorite things about the season. Most years our hills and valleys are blanketed with vibrant colors as the leaves change. But Ma Nature’s attitude during the summer can put a real damper on leaf peeping. Our weather was temperamental, with swings between hot and cold, wet and dry. The back and forth has done a number on some trees, which have already dropped their leaves. Others are still bright green. Peak foliage is still a few weeks away for our area, but I’m already looking forward to lazy drives through colorful forests.

fall scenery

Sit Down by the Fire…

There’s no better time than fall to go camping. Parks and campgrounds feel a little less crowded after school starts. The lakes are calmer as pleasure boaters begin to dry dock their boats. And the nights are cooler, which makes that campfire all the nicer. If we plan to stay around camp all day, we start a fire first thing in the morning. If adventure is calling our name, the fire waits. Regardless of what the day holds, the evening isn’t complete without a campfire. Whether we’re making supper, treating ourselves to dessert or just listening to the pop of burning wood, time around the fire is always one of our favorite parts of any camping trip.

Going to the Country… 

Those meandering drives can, and usually do, wind through one fall festival or another. One that we stumbled on years ago is the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County Indiana. Turns out this county in west-central Indiana is home to more intact covered bridges than any other county in the US. And they celebrate those bridges every October. The festival is held county-wide and visitors can follow one or all of the five driving routes that lead to the bridges. Some bridges you can drive across, others you can’t. But you can see the craftsmanship at all of them. And along the way you can sample what the locals are offering, whether it’s beans and cornbread or buried beef. It’s a beautiful area and is a great way to spend a day. 

So now I pose this question to you: what do you call the season between summer and winter?