Nature's Sweet Spot

Many if not most naturalists and "outdoors people" who live in the American Heartland would identify mid-late autumn as the best of nature's seasons.  Sunny skies, mild daytime temperatures, dry air and crisp, clear nights are the norm and colorful foliage adorns the landscapes.  After a few overnight frosts, annoying insects are down for the count while native birds and mammals become more active and conspicuous in the autumn chill.

Overhead, flocks of migrant cranes and waterfowl fill the skies, settling on our fields and lakes to rest and feed and attracting hordes of birders and hunters in the process.  Dry trails, painted woodlands and pleasant weather entice hikers and naturalists into the forests and mountains before ice and snow coat the landscape.

Commonly referred to as "Indian Summer," these glorious weeks are nature's sweet spot, warm enough to invite exploration but cool enough to invigorate humans and wildlife alike.  There is no other time of year when we so clearly sense that we are part of nature, a reality that we too often ignore.