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by Esther J. Perne
Welcome to the fall of 2020. Welcome to a beautiful time of year clear, crisp, colorful, mellow a wait-and-see for what the world will bring, a not-too-late to make up for lost adventures here. Welcome to the playground that is the whole outdoors full of lakes and trails and scenic vistas and places to pause for a nap or a snack. There is a flow to fall that in 2020 will not be changed from all the falls that have topped off beautiful summers in this region.
Fall can be a daily wondrous discovery for everyone of nature evolving, especially for those new to the season. Colors creep slowly around the lakes and across the hills. Sunny days are calm and comforting. Rain falls gently and in wild winds and downpours the adventure of a cozy indoors seems special.
Fall is the visit of a lifetime for travelers from other corners of the country, especially southern and western states who venture here for the foliage. It is unpredictable whether fewer leaf-peepers may visit here this year, but it is predictable that there will be a visual feast regardless, that there will be cold snaps beyond a Southerner's imagination, that the feelings of remoteness and rusticity will intensify and be totally appreciated and that the days of Indian Summer will defy any attempt to define them, which is why that trip here is the trip of a lifetime.
For those who live in the region, fall is still unfailingly a flurry of preparation for winter much of which is chronicled and cheered on by daily drivers-by. There are inspiring, invigorating days for outdoor work, for shopping for bundles of provisions against impending blizzards and for projects that go on inside that the drivers-by don't see but do imagine. There will also be the language of fall, terms of the season that are bantered around not lightly such as studded tires, woodpile cords, plastic wrap, muck boots, neck-ups, blaze orange and a few not printable but as colorful as the turning leaves.
Fall leads forward to seasonal departures, to learning situations, to practicing of sports and this year maybe or maybe not to school. Students are already leaving summer jobs in the area, hiring signs are going up, and employers are evaluating how long they can stay open in a labor-desperate market. They will persevere, of course, and certain stores and restaurants will be a source for forays into town well into the holidays.
The students leaving, the leaf peepers visiting, the hard work of preparing for winter, the awesome transitions of the outside world, the simple enjoyment of daily discoveries. It's all in the fall and it's all good.