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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fall is Near

Fall has always been my favorite season, and I’m looking forward to it. Already the low temperatures here are flirting with the mid-60s, and I’ve seen some geese migrating (North Carolina coastal marshes are a primary habitat for Canadian geese). When the neighborhood pool closed last night at 8:00, the parking lot was nearly dark. The pool will be open only 10 more days.

There’s a time, usually in late September, when I can actually smell the fall. The air is crisp and clean, and it carries a certain definitiveness. Windows in homes and cars can be left open, mosquitoes and wasps disappear, football and hockey start new seasons, and families anticipate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For those in the business world, the period from Labor Day to Thanksgiving is the most productive period of the year. People aren’t traveling much, so it’s easy to get things done – especially in companies where annual performance metrics will be tallied in December. We know from experience it’s difficult to get anything accomplished between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so get busy now.

Of course, fall has a flipside. It’s hurricane season; and as we saw in November 1988 just three blocks down the street from us (!), fall can also be tornado season. Looking at today’s reports on Hurricane Danielle, Tropical Storm Earl, and the yet-unnamed system off the Cape Verde Islands, I can see the storm track shifting closer to the U.S. It’s time to review the preparedness checklist. An occasional tropical storm is good for inland North Carolina because it replenishes municipal reservoirs and underground water tables.

Another example of ying-and-yang is fall foliage. Here in the Piedmont we have many hardwoods that produce great colors – yellow hickories, orange maples, red sweetgums, scarlet oaks, etc. They’re beautiful in November. Come December, though, the pile of leaves from my lawn will be 250 cubic feet. Raleigh, the self-proclaimed City of Oaks, does a great job in clearing these away – but I have to get them to curbside.

I think about the future a lot. My favorite season of the church year is Advent, so it fits that my favorite season of the natural year is autumn. What’s yours?