This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 8th, 2001

It's Fall

I love fall. To be honest it isn't as spectacular here in the Pacific Northwest as other places we have lived or even visited, but it is still my favorite.

A few mornings ago I was up earlier than usual, there had been heavy fog during the night, and as the low morning light swept onto the cedars behind the house, there appeared hundreds of moisture-festooned spider webs all carefully hung in the cedars. Each glistening like a new Christmas ornament. As the sun continued to rise, they disappeared from view. They were still there of course, it was the angle of the light that made them visible.

The low, yellow-intensive light is the same one that illuminates my garden in late afternoon, casting long elegant shadows. Wonderful stuff.

I loved Montana in the fall too - the Tamarack trees look like pine-type evergreens, but they aren't. When cold weather starts the needles turn gold, drop to the ground and a carpet of gold is everywhere. Actually it's a good signal to get ready for winter, snow won't be far behind. There aren't very many of the showy hardwoods in Montana, it's the gold of the Quaking Aspens which light up the lower mountainsides, and Red Osier without its leaves gives a rosy glow to the stream banks. Then there is the color of the Big Sky. Years ago I named it Montana Blue. There is no proper description of it - it's just a very clean, intense blue - you have to experience it.

Michigan had its share of hardwood trees, and the 'Fall Color-Tours' were listed in the newspapers, which route to take on the weekend to see the best vistas. Everyone hoping the rain would hold off and the leaves would hold on the trees just a little longer.

It's been years since I've been in New England in the fall, but I remember vividly the brilliant reds framed against the grays of the granite. There was something about wonderful lobster in Portland Maine too which certainly added to the memories.

For us here in the west, we share some of the pieces of fall with you. The geese skimming low overhead, the crispness of the air, the crunch of dry leaves, the red berries on the Mountain Ash (or in the east Bittersweet along the fence rows and winding into the trees at the edge of the woods.) The cackle of a rooster pheasant flushed and heading out.

I spent part of my growing up years in marshes. Fishing for bass or catfish in the summer and laying in wait for ducks in the fall. There is a special feel and smell in a marsh intensified by the anticipation of a successful day duck hunting - or one day with my dad, deciding was a "butterfly day" and fishing for perch would be better. It was.

Fall is a time to appreciate the change of season, to immerse yourself in it. (Remember jumping in leave piles when you were a kid?) If you have a local fall fishery, go fish. Breathe deep and drink it all in. Enjoy the marvelous gifts nature provides. Store up some beauty and joy for the cold months ahead.

The succession of seasons is reassuring. We know winter will follow fall, a time to gather our thoughts and heal our wounds. And surely spring will come again. ~ LadyFisher

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