The weather this past weekend was about as idyllic as it gets. With the fall colors in southern Wisconsin striving for their peak, temperatures wandered up into the high 70's and the sun shone brightly over a few scattered clouds and a quiet breeze. Naturally, one is all but compelled to spend a great deal of time out of doors when such weather presents itself.
Me and the fella, so compelled, suited up and headed out to do some mountain biking in Waterloo. As we maneuvered our way around roots and rocks and killer obstacles we're not yet awesome enough to tackle, we couldn't help but be constantly marveling at just how gorgeous everything was. The trails wind through acres of land on the side of a large mound/hill that's covered in most places by a combination of pine and deciduous forest. We passed through brightly colored sections where the sun burst through the canopy and sent rays of light down onto the leaf-strewn floor, and other spots where the light breeze shook free a shower of dead pine needles that then drifted down around us.
Seriously, it was almost as though someone had planned it.
After working up a good lather, we headed out to the Eplegaarden to pick out a single pumpkin for future use as a jack-o-lantern. The joint was, unsurprisingly, jumping, as parents and children and giddy college students swarmed the apple orchards and pumpkin fields in a hunt for seasonal produce. We found a slightly more out-of-the-way field where the selection was less picked over and found a specimen that met our exacting standards: no insect holes, a good long stem, and at least one side with a good surface for carving.
It was hard to watch the sun set at the end of Sunday knowing that such a perfect weekend was unlikely to roll around again at least until next year. "I want to bottle today and keep it around forever," said the fella. And I couldn't agree more, but I'm thankful to have been given such a lovely Indian Summer at all. Autumn is my favorite season, but my love for it is always tempered with the knowledge that fall tends to be the most mercurial of seasons, and that once it's done, there's a long winter to get through. Even so, I can't help but love this time of year: the brilliant colors in the trees, the harvest, Halloween, that crisp bite that seeps into the air, caramel apples, pumpkins, and warm kitchens that remind me of being small.
This coming weekend I'll be traveling to Columbus, Ohio for the tenth annual International Drag King Extravaganza, and I'm hoping that the weather will cooperate for daytime excursions to explore various parts of a city to which I've never been before. Will autumn be as spectacular there as it is in Wisconsin? Is that even possible? I admit I'm a little biased toward the natural beauty of my adopted state, but I'll do my best to keep my eyes, ears and nose open to the different--but I'm sure perfectly nice--sights, sounds and smells of fall in Ohio. After all, autumn beggars ought not be choosers.