“Welcome to Idaho. Here, our seasons are summer, almost winter, winter, and still winter.”
Fall has long-been my favorite season.
I believe it started in childhood as fall almost completely meant to me that it was time to go back to school. I loved everything about school. I loved to learn, I loved my mentors, I loved seeing and meeting new friends, I loved new books, and all the before- and after-school activities offered.
The coming of fall meant I would be seeing, hearing, and talking about new things on a nearly daily basis.
While I loved the long summers that my family spent traveling, I also dearly loved to be home. Fall always meant it was time to be home.
As time has gone on, and my school days are decades behind me, fall has come to mean incomparable beauty.
I’m a huge fan of flowers, shrubs, and beautiful trees. The most beautiful shapes, textures, and colors are found gracing the shorter fall days. It’s all I think about when I anticipate fall approaching each year.
My first fall in Grace, I have to admit, I believe I must have blinked at the wrong time. I remember waking up one winter day, rolling over and asking my Farmer, “Do we get fall here?”
He laughed at me.
In reality, it was warm for a couple months and just when I thought it was starting to get warm enough at night to go camping, there was snow on the ground. Even though the snow was gone by the next day, it kept snowing intermittently. It was obviously winter.
I had completely missed fall.
I looked around and the leaves had already fallen. Where were all the colorful fall leaves I had remembered in years past?
While my Farmer reassured me that it was just an odd year, it nearly happened the next year too—except that I was paying careful attention.
I think we had about three days of fall that year.
Each year fall has gotten a few days (or maybe even a full week) longer. It’s not from global warming or some weird weather pattern. It’s me.
I’ve learned that fall here is not like fall in other, warmer places I have lived in the past.
Here, fall means it freezes one night—often when most of us in the northern hemisphere are attached to air conditioners. The next day the trees have changed colors and it seems as though half the leaves are already on the ground. Our winds whisk them away, and then snow marks winter.
I’ve learned to see fall as starting the first night of the freeze and continuing until not even the weeds can stand the cold anymore. It includes multiple snow falls and many freezing nights. It’s not winter until the snow sticks to the ground.
In this beautiful place I call home, fall will come and go before I know it–if I let it. In my fondness of the season, I make it last as long as I can.
I could care less about the calendar.
Never had I understood exactly what crisp-cool-mornings meant until I lived here. It used to mean I might need a light jacket early in the mornings. Now it means long sleeves anytime I leave the house, and many days while I am inside as well.
If I go for a morning walk, I will definitely need layers.
I now get to see the beautifully colored trees before they drop their coats. I have learned that every mountain has its own “day.” I know which side of which mountain turns first—even on my own homestead.
If I missed the chokecherries at the bottom of the mountain, I hike up higher and get those—claiming a few more harvest days—because it’s still fall.
And although anything in the garden sensitive to frost has been moved into the root cellar or processed by the first freeze, I slowly gather all the greens and root vegetables—refusing to let winter come until I am done.
Here in Grace, we dig potatoes in the snow. We harvest our wheat in the snow. We gather firewood in the snow. We move cows in the snow.
While on the inside we’re all a little bit panicked that old man winter could arrive any day and shut our farmers down, us wives are all smiling and refusing to admit it’s almost winter.
It’s still fall.
It’s been fall this year since mid-August. It will continue to be fall until I have to dig my snowshoes out.
Welcome to fall in Grace.