Chicago fall


Old maple tree. (Peter V. Bella)

Summer is coming to a close. Fall is near. Soon the leaves will begin changing color. Leaves on the very old maple tree in front of my home will turn yellow, red, and finally a dead brown.

Then the winds of November will make the tree bare. My block will look like Ents on parade.

The days will still be warm for a while but the nights will be pleasantly cool. Then, as if by magic, the days will be crisp and the nights on the cold side.

I have always been an Autumn person. I love the season. The weather is perfect for dressing up without sweating, the air is clear, and unlike those hot muggy days, you actually feel like moving more. I also like fall colors.

Up until ten or so years ago, I would start preparing for the October two week grouse hunting trip in Northern Minnesota. Planning the various needs, replacing clothing, creating the shopping list and making up the budget for a stay miles from any town.

There is something ethereal walking miles through the northwoods for hours twice every day even if you never see or shoot a bird. The woods appeal to all the senses. There is quiet, punctuated by the sounds of rustling trees and leaves, the odors of dying fauna and woodsmoke, and the vast beauty of Mother Nature. There is even an indescribable taste or tang in the northwood's air.


The beaches and parks are deserted and quiet for reading or contemplation. (Peter V. Bella)

Fall in Chicago is a great season. There is a certain vitality in the city. People move faster. The light is not as harsh and bleaching like summer, and the cool drier breezes are more comfortable.

With children in school, some neighborhoods are more quiet than forests. Parks are empty and you could sit, read, or just contemplate. The beaches are less populated and walking is easier. On some days you have the beach all to yourself.

Every fall I pull out the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy. More recently I also read the Harry Potter series. Fall is a perfect time for fantasy reading, especially when much of it has to do with nature.

Autumn is the time we start putting away those summer clothes and preparing for the onslaught of winter. As October turns to November, the weather gets harsher. But, before that first snowfall, there is still some color left in plant life. Enough to remind you that winter is short and spring will arrive.


Lake Michigan turns into a beautiful treacherous witch. (Peter V. Bella)

Lake Michigan turns into a beautiful treachrous witch with high waves crashing on the shoreline and breakwaters. Some days the sky and the lake are a dull gray metallic color.

The plant life along the shore turns dun. On windy days walking along the lake front is a chore. The wind and blowing sand become an inconvenience to be tolerated.

There is still beauty in the gun metal skies and water, the mist over the skyline, and the sand eddies swirling on and even beyond the beaches.


Winter has its moments of beauty. (Peter V. Bella)

Then, winter arrives. The harsh cold, the damp cold, the snow, and days without sunshine. Though winter has its beautiful moments, indoors is much preferable to being outside.

As summer winds down, prepare to enjoy autumn. It is short, sweet, and beautiful.




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