Although fall will not officially begin until the 22nd, many among us have already turned that seasonal calendar from summer to autumn now that Labor Day is over. I recall listening to a radio program awhile back in which the topic was autumn. The narrator asked the question: “Are you recovering from summer or dreading winter?” It was as if fall did not exist!
From the Pembina Hills to the badlands, autumn in North Dakota is a great time to get out and enjoy some nature. Whether it is hunting, camping, bird watching, or just going for a walk, savor the fall colors, smells, sounds, and crisp cool air.
I thought of that all recently while reading parts of Teddy Roosevelt’s Hunting Trips of a Ranchman. Roosevelt obviously found the badlands to be a special place, and he seemed to find fall particularly enjoyable. Here is a bit of how he described the badlands during autumn.
“Then the air is fresh and bracing, and a man feels as if he could walk or ride all day long without tiring. Where everything before had been gray or dull green there are now patches of russet red and bright yellow. The clumps of ash, wild plum-trees, and rose-brushes in the heads and bottoms of the sloping valleys become spots of color that glow among the stretches of brown and withered grass; the young cottonwoods, growing on the points of land round which flow the rivers and streams, change to a delicate green or yellow, on which the eye rests with pleasure after having so long seen only the dull drab of the prairies….the blood leaps briskly through a man’s veins and makes him feel that to be out and walking over the hills is a pleasure in itself…On days such as these, mere life is enjoyment;”
So make a point to get out and thoroughly enjoy fall this year. Relax a bit and soak it all in. As Elizabeth Lawrence said, “Everyone must take the time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” But just remember that fall around here is not for procrastinators, because you never know when that big white blanket will be thrown across the landscape.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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