Autumn Leaves Flag Whole New Season Slate

Western Ag Vignettes

October sun is nicest ethereal light of the year.

Published on: October 18, 2013

Welcoming the season is always a delight for me, a former Michigander who loved the turning leaves, nip of the wind and scent of fall from birth. Now, in the Pacific Northwest, where we have all the nice  autumnal trappings without the threat of endless snow (at least in the western part of the area), the "ber" months (September, October, November and December) are even nicer.

Spent last weekend on the last 2013 campout on the Kalama River where they were landing salmon by the platefuls, and you could see the fish swimming past our site every day. I, of course, caught my usual limit (we won't talk about that now).

Strolling across the campground with my six-year-old grandson en route to the playground (again) I really felt the season settling in, with the swirling leaves, bright and cool sun, and the stir of winter on the fringes. My grandson was humming Jingle Bells and talking about the new 3-D game player he hoped Santa would bring. I told him he'd get superhero underwear.

Nights and mornings were COLD already, and we burned all the firewood I brought from home (even the cardboard boxes), although we have a cozy heater in our new pop-up camper trailer. Just wanted to sit at the last campfire of the year and sigh. Everyone else went inside and I was left out there alone to tell myself ghost stories and getting really frightened.

That October light I was talking about offers one of the nicest times to take photos with existing light, capturing a nice patina of fall reds and yellows against a distant mountain fog line. I always look forward to October sun low in the sky and less intrusive than on those hot summer days.

Pumpkin farms are becoming more a part of our conservations these days, and I notice in the ads that they've come of age. Those nice little farm outings that included a hay ride and a cup of cider now have high admission prices that include "most" of what the farm offers. I think agritourism has matured with the use of trams and lot attendants charging for parking behind the portable potties.

More power to the farmers to add to their income by coming up with pumpkin guns and spooky stage players to enhance their attractions.

What always strikes me is how Halloween has become a kind of national holiday involving adults as much as children. When I was the size of my grandson, parents considered it somewhat of a nuisance and avoided getting involved except for coming up costumes and   leaving porch lights on until 9:30 to hand out popcorn balls and pennies. Now, it is a major unofficial celebration, like Super Bowl Sunday, and both ought to be declared legal national holidays.

Want to really hear a frightening story? Once about a time, there was a great national government that ran everything. Suddenly, it was gone!  Women screamed and children wept.

Night had fallen over the land and the October sun had gone out.