Fall is my favorite season. Who doesn’t enjoy observing the leaves from the trees and plants changing into multi-colored works of art before finally falling away? The cool, crisp morning air that is energizing and makes for a great start to the day, or for those who do not like it cold, makes you want to stay curled up in a warm blanket! Family outings to an apple orchard for those delicious fresh picked apples or hunting for the perfect pumpkin at the patch are great ways to get out and enjoy the fall season! And for the people who cannot wait, it truly is pumpkin spice season, you know who you are. There are many reasons why I love fall and why I think it’s the best season, but here are just a few.

The trees change color

Here in Minnesota, all the seasons are very apparent. The spring season is very green, the summer is hot and humid, the winter is bone chillingly cold and the fall is full of magnificent colors and perfect weather.

The maple trees are especially vibrant with colors of red and golden-yellow and combinations of both. When I was younger, these leaves resembled “tree stars” to me, a reference to the movie The Land Before Time, and would occasionally call them such. To this day, they are my favorite trees when the season changes.

This season is perfect for taking beautiful scenic photos and spending time outdoors. Nothing can relax and rejuvenate you more than enjoying nature and its surrounding scenery. Being in Owatonna we have access to several parks, Kaplan’s Woods is a great one, to see the changing of colors or are within an easy drive to the North Shore or the bluffs along the Mississippi for a truly spectacular view of fall colors.

The weather is perfect

Autumn is the “cooling off” month right between the blazing summer and freezing winter. When the cooler temperatures of fall start rolling in, saying goodbye to summer is not hard to do. Autumn, or “Han Solo Season” as some refer to it as, is a great time to break out the jackets, coats, boots, scarves and hats in preparation for the change in season.

It is also the perfect time to start making hot cocoa, having campfires as this season creates the perfect setting for a sense of comfort, warmth and reflection. To me, it is also a perfect time to get out and get in one more camping trip or road trip, which guess what, allows you to take in the fresh air and scenic colors!

Fall is full of family holidays

Autumn is the start the jam-packed holiday season. The back-to-school rush, which has come and gone and I know kids do not see this as a holiday, but come on parents; it is just a little for you! Halloween, and Thanksgiving before rolling into winter and Christmas. And these aren’t just regular old holidays. These are all very involved, family-centered holidays, the best kind of holiday.

Autumn is the season to be thankful and to be surrounded by the people you love. It is the perfect time to change up your decorations by adding orange, red and yellow colors and to pull out the spice-scented candles.

The holiday season encourages you to spend time thinking about what you and your family have been through in the last year as well as the memories you have made together while looking forward to a new and exciting year.

Another reason I love the holidays is the food. You’ll generally eat far better food during this season than you will during the rest of the year. I know I have my countdown to Thanksgiving, can’t wait to pile my plate with delicious food!

Some symbolism associated with fall

Underneath the surface of all the obvious reasons, we love fall lie those more subtle associations rooted in science, ancient tradition and astrology.

•Balance. The Fall Equinox represents the balance between the seasons as well as the balance between light and dark. Fall provides an opportunity for us to balance ourself with our earth.

•Change. In tandem with spring, fall is a part of a beautiful cycle of loss, regeneration and regrowth. The dead leaves and branches on the ground disintegrate and become part of the soil, acting as seeds and fertilizer later once the cold welcomes the warmer weather.

•Conservation. Farmers and critters alike work tirelessly during this time of year to protect the necessities of life. We as people also work to preserve our comfy abodes like the animals do with their hibernation spaces.

As I wrap-up, I hope you will get out and enjoy the fall season. Go for a walk, relax outside, take in the colors and sounds of nature, jump into a pile of leaves, do something that will make you happy and gets you outside. We all know, once winter hits, we spend the vast majority of our time inside, though we as Minnesotans know how to enjoy winter to the fullest, but we are inside a lot more than not. Have a great October!

Tidbits

6th Annual Trick or Treat Trail

Ghosts and Goblins of all ages grab your trick or treat bags and head to the Steele County Fair Grounds on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 2-4 p.m. for our 6th Annual Trick or Treat Trail! Note, the new location for better parking and more space! Visit local businesses along the trail for treats, games, a photo shoot, and crafts. Visit the cute animals in the large petting zoo, take a ride on the kiddie train ride and find spooky treasures in the scavenger hunt. The Woof or Treat Trail will be back at this year’s event! Dress up your furry friends and visit the separate trail, with treats and goodies, just for them. Enter your pooch into the costume contest and win a great prize! We’ll also have two bounce houses, free hot chocolate and food trucks. Mark your calendars

Lifeguard Training, Nov. 5-16

• Nov. 5: 8-9 p.m. at the Owatonna Middle School (Pre Test)

• Nov. 9: 8 a.m.-noon at Senior Place

• Nov. 9: Noon-3 p.m. at the Owatonna Middle School

• Nov. 10: Noon-7 p.m. at Senior Place

• Nov. 16: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Owatonna Middle School

WSI Training (Swimming Lesson Instructor), Dec. 1-7

• Dec. 1: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at West Hills Social Commons

• Dec. 2: 6:30-9:30 p.m. at West Hills Social Commons

• Dec. 4: 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Owatonna Middle School

• Dec. 7: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at West Hills Social Commons

Drake Simonson is the Guest Service Lead for the Owatonna Parks and Recreation.

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