You can have your summer, fall is my favorite season. The cooler temps and crisp air, the amazing colors of autumn leaves transforming all around, and the flexibility to wear a sweater or grab a coat. Put another way, as the temps drop, you can always put more on, but in the summer, there’s only so much you can take off before you risk being arrested.
Perhaps this love came from living near a state park that I used to zip my moped around or years later, making my way around the college campus. Like many, upon entering my “adult” years, I would combine this with another great love, driving my car through winding country roads.
Of course, as adulting often does, time became more scarce and there were times when I didn’t “officially” make it out to see the changing season. And somewhere along the way, the Internet started doing what it does…making our lives better (sometimes more or less successfully). At your fingertips now were fall foliage articles and color trackers, letting you know not just where to, but when to see the pinnacle of autumn colors!
But now, in our pursuit of optimal, the best of best, we may have to reckon with the not best…the suboptimal…and more to the point, settling. Which is challenging. After all, who hops onto their computer or phone to search for “average,” or “good, perhaps great, but certainly not the best” anything?
I urge you to set aside that urge to wait for the “best.” Especially as we are talking about something that is literally controlled by the weather. I’m sure we’ve all put off heading out to see the changing leaves because we heard or thought that the peak was just around the corner, only to miss out completely after an unexpected thunderstorm swept through the area and stripped the trees of most of their leaves.
While we’re at it, let’s perhaps let go of “the best place” to see the fall colors. Or at least loosening up that plan. You can still try to plan a special outing to do so, but don’t forego everything else in place of that.
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Living in McHenry County, we are fortunate to have amazing parks and conservation areas all around us. Most of us are probably within a 5-10 minute drive of one of these locations. But, many of us can probably find some great views of autumn without driving anywhere. The photos here were all taken on just two recent occasions, walking “around the block.” We don’t really live on a block per se, but you get the idea.
It’s hard to find many “upsides” to COVID, but perhaps one is that it got many of us out, walking around our neighborhoods. As things hopefully continue to improve, let’s not abandon the appreciation of the simple and the now.
Winter will be here before we know it. Don’t wait. Take a walk today over lunch, or after work around your office or your neighborhood. Drive a different route home after work to disconnect the auto-pilot. Stop by a park on your way home, or grab the family after you get home and head out somewhere.
Enjoy the colors, and enjoy all that is around us. May your autumn be filled with amazing colors and sights, wherever you find them.