Albion Hills Conservation Area is our temporary home. The park is gorgeous and is a popular destination for bikers and hikers with its miles of hilly trails leading through the pine, maple, birch and oak woods; past frog and turtle-filled ponds and flowery meadows. We see squirrels, rabbits, deer, a variety of birds including wild turkey, a range of ducks and geese and hear the coyotes’ howl after dark.
When we arrived in the park in September, following Labour Day weekend, the weather was quite warm and the weekend campers descended in good numbers. Butterflies and mosquitos and the smells of summer were in the air. Choruses of crickets filled the night’s quiet with an electric buzz that lasted until dawn. We had a few heavy rainfalls and with the winds that followed, poplar and beech leaves began to fall. The nights turned cool and we had to pile on a few more layers and get closer to our evening fires. On our hikes we began to see small signs of autumn with a red or yellow leaf, radiant on the path or caught conspicuously in a clutch of green leaves. Slowly, we were hearing the call of fall.
Near the end of September, we had a few days of hot and humid weather and Summer was full-on again! Temperatures plummeted at the beginning of October and out came the jackets and scarves. The local markets offered Mums, pumpkins, squash and gourds for sale and local apples are beginning to fill their crates. The colder nights in the park silenced the crickets and green foliage has begun its transition to yellows, oranges and reds. Less campers are venturing out for a weekend outdoors. The earlier sunsets create longer shadows and the night air descends as a cold shroud.
Fall is my favourite season even though for years, it marked the beginning of a return to work. It’s crisp, pungent air, its energy, its contrasts, its drama, have all created a spirit of renewal in me, more so than the onset of spring. Some people liken Autumn to New Years, where folks get back into a routine or start new projects or stock their pantries with goods to make soup and stews. I guess we are connected to nature’s cycles in our subconscious at least. There is some comfort in putting on woolen socks and snugging up a favourite sweater. Sinking my teeth into a new apple, hearing it snap and tasting its perfect blend of sweet and tart is my time-honoured tradition of stepping into fall.
The park has an old pioneer cabin whose hand crafted planks and rustic gardens entice the photographer. The construction vehicles parked nearby created the perfect contrast of technology past and present.
My cousin Marilyn and husband Mike will arrive from England for a two week dose of fall weather in ten days. Marilyn has just retired as a college professor and her first desire was to head back to Ontario where she grew up and immerse herself in an Ontario Autumn. We will be celebrating the harvest with a couple of Thanksgiving feasts and hopefully the full colouring of the leaves will “hang on” until she gets here to enjoy them. We are now having a warm spell that has the crickets singing again and the spring peeper frogs chirping frequently. The weather is ideal for outdoor activity. Fall’s resplendence and bounty is showcased at the many Fall Fairs, Farmers Harvest Markets, Studio Tours and Vineyard Open Houses. I am participating with my best friend Wendy, in The Bay Studio Tour near Midland and Penetang. If you care to venture out for a country drive, please download a brochure and be sure to visit Witz End Studio, location 6 and visit Wendy and I. www.thebaystudiotour.com
As the leaves begin to fall, so do the many fruit and seeds, searching for places to hide until spring when they will burst firth and multiply.
It has not been long since the official Fall Equinox began but soon the birds will begin to gather and migrate, a true miracle of nature and milestone of Fall.