Most people living in the upper Midwest would argue that this is the most wonderful time of the year, not necessarily Christmas. In Minnesota, we have two groups of people, those who love summer, and those that don’t. In the interests of full disclosure, I fall into the former group. Lucy also leaned more towards loving summer.
One could argue that spring could also be the most wonderful time of the year, since like fall, the weather is not too hot or too cold, there are no winged bloodsucking creatures vexing outdoor activities and it is cool enough in the evening for bonfires or cooking outdoors.
Fall does have several advantages over spring. Television, cable and streaming service shows start their new seasons in fall; spring was rerun and replacement series season. Football and hockey fans rejoice at the start of a new season while baseball fans are either gearing up for the post-season or muttering “Maybe next year”. The days seem longer during fall though sunrise is a little later and sunset is a little earlier every day after the equinox. Lakes are still warm enough for some late season boating without hitting ice. Many gardens are still in bloom and migratory birds and butterflies begin flocking before undertaking an arduous several thousand mile trek in search of warmer weather.
Lucy had one reason she would pick fall over spring for the most wonderful time of the year: fall color. When winter transitions to spring, the color palette changes from white to gray to dirty gray to pale green to green before the flowers start blooming. When summer transitions to fall, the greens and tans are quickly infused with, and then replaced by, brilliant hues of yellow, gold, burgundy, red, orange and shades in between. It is as if summer knows it is going out, so it is going out with a lavishly attired party. Of course, like any large party, the clean up afterwards is time-consuming. Lucy and I had hoped to go on a hot air balloon ride sometime during peak fall color. She was receptive to doing this despite a fear of heights. Perhaps I will do that sometime in her honor.
Some areas of the world do not see much color variation between seasons. Large areas of the southwestern United States have two color palettes: green during the rainy season and brown the rest of the year. Areas of the Great Plains are nearly devoid of trees with some wildflowers during the wetter season. Other areas have trees, but the leaves stay on year around because there is little difference between the seasons.
I am lucky to live in an area where we get several weeks of incredible beauty every year. The Twin Cities has already had one evening of scattered frost and is nearing the end of an unseasonably cool stretch of weather. The maples are showing hints of red, orange and gold, so the transition party is starting soon. Now if I could be smart enough to get out of the area before the dreaded snow starts flying…