It’s fall in Minnesota and while the same is true in all parts of the United States, the northern part of the country experiences fall in a way unlike the rest of USA – in an explosion of color.
Minnesota has suffered through a drought for most of the summer and that led many of us to believe the colors would be muted and dull this year, but in reality, at least in my neck of the Minnesota River Valley, quite the opposite has occurred. It’s been an abundance of color the likes of which we haven’t seen in several years. Those with drones have been up almost every day documenting nature’s palette, but we don’t have to go much further than opening our curtains to see the glorious change up close and personal and my yard, full of maple trees, is no exception.
Following a tornado in 1998, my community lost thousands of mature trees that created a dense canopy. It was one of those things we loved but didn’t think much of until it was gone. The City worked closely with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other government agencies to provide and plant thousands of trees to replace those we lost. Of course the chance of my being alive to see those trees reach the maturity level of the trees we lost, trees that towered over homes and roadways, is slim to none, but twenty plus years into our tornado recovery, many of the new trees are over twenty feet tall and sporting vibrant shades of reds and oranges as fall progresses. What nature destroyed man is slowly rebuilding and it’s a sight to behold.
Of course the changing colors get a lot of attention when fall rolls in, but there’s so much more that I love about fall and I experienced most of it in one day on a recent weekend. It’s a time for starting a day with a warm cup of coffee or cocoa; getting out and doing things with friends; walking through leaves and hearing the satisfying crunch beneath your feet; baking and cooking all those cold weather favorites from family recipe boxes; and even working outside in the sun in a light sweatshirt and not sweating one drop. Having windows open and the sun streaming in while watching tiny specks of dust float in the sunbeam is wonderful even if it means I need to dust more often! We sleep better and deeper and wake up earlier as the days get shorter so we can get in every activity possible. It’s invigorating and rejuvenating for me even though it all occurs just when nature is preparing to become dormant. I love every moment of fall.
People often ask if I will go south for the winter as I get older. In Minnesota we call these folks snow birds and they often land in Florida or Texas or Arizona. But even though winter means shoveling and driving on sometimes snow or ice covered roads, I can’t do it. Minnesota is in my blood and living where there are four distinct and equally lovely seasons (yes, winter is wonderful!), is necessary.
Fall to me is football, the hint of smoke from fireplaces and backyard fire rings; the sound of cheering at a sporting event that wafts over the valley from the high school and local college; digging up comfy winter clothing that feels like spending the day in your pajamas, seeing frost on the blades of grass first thing in the morning; airing out the house after a summer of air conditioning; watching the squirrels in the yard work tirelessly to gather their winter store of food and providing a free lawn aeration; lawn mowers going quiet and road construction shutting down while decorating for the season becomes big business
Fall is pumpkin everything from lattes to pies to cookies to creamer; chili and homemade soups (something I am especially good at); Friday nights spent at high school football games and Sundays watching the Vikings; and most important of all from a sports point of view for this Minnesota Wild fan – it’s hockey season again!
All of this begins before we tuck away our outdoor valuables and plants; winterize our vehicles so there are no winter surprises; button up the windows and doors; and prepare to nest with family and friends for three months of crisp chill air, the whitest of white landscapes, and the peace and quiet winter brings.
It’s life in Minnesota and I will never be without it.
To wrap things up, I invite you to experience it for yourself. If you are in my neck of the woods this fall, take a drive through the Minnesota River Valley or along the north shore in Duluth and have your camera ready because you will need photos to describe the gorgeous views you will experience. You’ll fall in love with Minnesota too!
Be well my friends…