The Shroud of Autumn

While the days are often warm and bright, the darkness of winter is building as we approach the autumn equinox. With each day, our commutes to and from work are increasingly devoid of sunlight, the daytime shadows lengthen and our slide toward winter steepens.

But there is a certain comfort that comes with this gathering darkness. Oppressive heat and intense sunshine have moved on to our south and outdoor activities are no longer restricted to the morning and evening hours. Sunny days are now warm and inviting and the longer nights provide more time for mundane, household chores.

And for the naturalist, this expanding shroud of autumn triggers some of the more spectacular displays of nature's year: the colorful turning of leaves and the stirring migration of waterfowl. Some may dread the growing darkness and all that it brings but we cherish this season of mellow days, dry air and frosty nights. Autumn is, after all, the most inviting season for outdoor adventure.