The Rights of Fall

You, of course, have heard of the famous “Rights of Spring”. I would like to submit, for your approval, a few of what I wish to call the “Rights of Fall”.

One of the best of these is apple season. For those of you who live in parts of the US (or, for that matter, the world) that aren’t graced with an apple season, you don’t know what you’re missing. Most every place where apples can grow also has orchards, many of them which allow you to not only buy apples they grow, but also to go out into the orchard yourself to pick your own. A fresh apple is a thing to savor, but one fresh off the tree, especially one picked in the morning, before the sun has had a chance to really warm the apples, is a thing that stays with you for the rest of your life. The flavor seems far more intense than any apple you get in the store, but that is also true of an apple you get from the orchard store too. It also holds that chill, the small bit of coolness that makes the texture and flavor of the apple really jump out at you, to make them seem to sing in your mouth. Not all people like apples, and not all apple lovers like the same type of apple. For myself, my tastes run towards the tart apples, preferably ones that are sharp enough to really make you take notice of it when you bite into it. A good Cortland, which often grow to a size where downing one can almost be a challenge, is a good point to start the tart apple season, though Jonamacs are a good second choice. Later, Spartans and others like Stabrites can keep you coming back to follow the harvest. Towards the close of the season, Braeburns, an apple that, when it’s right, almost bites back, are a favorite of mine. There are others, and if you like different flavor types, or a particular texture type, odds are your local orchard will be able to set you up. Most will have a chart, somewhere in their store, showing the qualities of the various apples they grow, and often they will have a list of the particular apples that are ready for picking. The real test, though, and in my opinion, the real fun, is going into the orchard and picking an apple you haven’t tried before to see how it tastes and eats. I’ve never run into an orchard that object to this practice, at least not very strongly, so it’s a great way to broaden both your pallet and mind. It is also something that children love, and an actually healthy adventure they can share with their parents for years to come.

Fall is also the season of that less-than-enjoyable Right, leaf clean-up. A yard full of trees gives you a house that has plenty of shade, one that’s a lot easier to keep cool in those hot, humid summers we so often seem to endure. The down side, of course, is that when fall rolls around those leaves fall off the trees and land on your yard (or, if you’re very lucky, your neighbor’s yard!). They also fall on your roof, which means that you’re probably going to collect a fair number of them in any gutters your roof might possess. Gutters full of leaves don’t drain well, take it from someone who has a lot of trees and a fair count of gutters too. It’s a chore, and a none-too-pleasant one too, but there is a positive to it all: the colors. I once wrote a (very bad, no doubt) poem about a tree I have in my yard. It’s a maple, and while most of the other maples around it have leaves that turn a mottled shade of yellow, this one’s leaves turn a mixture of orange and red, with leaves showing an admix of those two shades thrown in for good measure. It is currently at the height of it’s glory, slowly transitioning in color from one side to the other (another oddity of it’s behavior) and shedding it’s many-colored leaves all over the ground around it. Elsewhere around me, both in the town I live in and out in the country, the trees are putting on a similar show. Even in these times when gas is far from cheap, and money not terribly plentiful, people will often drive out just to see this fleeting display. It too is something that many parents share with their children, a cheap but fun get-away from the every day world into a place where nature’s beauty is there for the viewing.

There are other Rights, other yearly events that mark the coming of Fall. Things like the shortening hours of daylight and the increase in cooler and cooler nights, things some think not to be very enjoyable. Then again, after this summer past, when places all over experienced heat and humidity at record levels, those cool temperatures are to be savored. Yes, the cooling will continue, down to the point where you won’t be able to go outside without dressing up in layer upon layer of clothing, but for now, enjoy the moment.

Happy Fall, one and all!

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