When Mother Nature blushes

It’s that time of year again, when New Hampshire’s mountains and forests are seemingly blushing and our Granite State is inundated with the thousands of curiosity seekers many of us refer to as “leaf peepers.” Tourists from all over the world will be here to experience the natural fireworks display that we New Hampshire natives typically take for granted. The golds, reds and browns of autumn will be in full bloom as though Mother Nature is treating us to the final performance of the year before her vegetation slips into dormancy in preparation for winter.

Walking through a wooded area this time of year brings back special memories for many of us. The crunch of the leaves beneath our feet, the feel of the crisp air on our noses and ears and the distinct aroma of chimney smoke wafting from a nearby home’s fireplace or wood stove, places photographs in our minds of days gone by. Perhaps of a family hike to take in all that the forest has to offer, a first walk for a newlywed couple or just a short jaunt from point A to point B.

For sports fans, it marks the end of baseball season and the beginning of a new football season, when every team starts the year with equal records and each dream of winning their respective championships. Local high schools and colleges will celebrate homecoming games, sometimes played under the lights, in the cool autumn night air, where a hot chocolate or coffee warms the body and the heart, while we cheer on our favorite team.

Fall is indeed a special time of year, as nature prepares itself for the cold and often unpredictable events of winter. The summer attractions that many of us frequent such as Hampton Beach, Clark’s Trading Post, Canobie Lake Park or Weir’s Beach, begin wrapping up activities for the season, often boarding up structures like residents of Florida prepare for major hurricanes.

Yup, autumn is simply the best. The temperature is nearly perfect, though often chilly. Tart, crisp apples are ready for picking, pumpkins await selection from the patch and mums share their colors amongst the many homes along our roadways. In October, little goblins brave the dark of night to wander from door to door in search of the next special treat to fill their goodie bags.

New England, and New Hampshire in particular, is certainly the place to be. If there is any drawback to fall, it’s the fact that we are preparing for that time of year when snow and ice cover our roads and storms yielding power outages become the norm. Admittedly, I do not ski (I know, a sacrilege for a native of New Hampshire), but I do snowshoe and am considering an attempt at fat biking. The cold of winter is often a relief from the sweltering summer heat. However, attempting to maneuver on dangerous icy roads is not my idea of fun. But unfortunately, it comes with the territory when we live in this part of the country.

So, before we pull out the snow blowers, shovels and ice melt, let’s take the time to admire and absorb the beauty Mother Nature, willingly shares with us this time of year. Take that walk in the woods, enjoy the crisp cool air, smell that smoke from those wood stoves warming their respective homes. Bring the family to the mountains to create memories to be recalled later. Take some pictures of those trees and mountains in full bloom. At the end of the season, you’ll be happy you did, when you and your family and friends are sitting around a warm fire sharing stories and photos, as Old Man Winter begins to pound us with that white fluff, for it could be several months before we see bare ground once again.

Wait a minute – that isn’t a snowflake I see, is it?

Don Canney is an occasional columnist for The Telegraph and a longtime resident of Nashua.