“What is your favorite thing about the fall season?” Readers respond.

Fall at Richardson Bay

Fall at Richardson Bay, photo by Natalie Mulford.

Last month we asked readers, “What is your favorite thing about autumn?” We were going to pick three of the best answers, but we found four! Here are excerpts from their winning responses. Congratulations to Stephanie, Gilberto, Susan, and Paul on winning out-of-print copies of the cloth-bound Nature’s Beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy. Stay tuned next month for another giveaway!

“Having grown up in New England, I was used to spectacular autumns, the brief lingering blaze of reds and oranges and yellows, before the austerity of snow on bare branches.   It always struck me as a divinely benevolent, extravagant gesture—before the cold turns inward, and the world seems to drain of color.  As I get older, however, and continue to cultivate a sense of becoming native to this place, I find myself noticing the particulars—the feeling of the sun’s waning intensity on my face, the late afternoon light having a distant paleness to it, the clarity of westward glances as I drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.  Which leads me to think, perhaps it is this: autumn conspiring to make palpable time’s passing.” —Paul E.

“My favorite thing about fall is the way the light illuminates the range of orange, red, and yellow colors that burst out of the ground or tumble from the trees.” —Susan M.

“Autumn in the Gold Country town of Volcano provides the five senses with a ‘sensurround’ experience. Mornings are chilly, with a thin layer of frost on the grass and the skin tingles with the premonition of snow to come; the day warms considerably in the sunshine later on. The smell of smoke from a neighbor’s wood stove assails the nostrils with a tang of aged oak. A slight movement in the corner of the eye yields the flick of a mule deer’s tail as it leaps away upon discovering human scent nearby. Later, in the dark, the hoot of a nearby owl is a reminder that humans are not the only ones who appreciate this time of year, when leafless trees and bushes make easier pickings for predators and remind the prey to get busy and find safe harbor for a winter’s sleep. I can’t resist the urge to hoot back. Then, I move on up onto the hill of Church Street with my sketchbook and find a comfortable spot at the Gold Rush-era cemetery to try to capture the moment. So, my favorite thing about autumn is its smorgasbord of opportunities for the senses to rejoice.” — Stephanie L.

“Passing through Tule Lake where the pain of water forcefully drained is heard riding cold winds and high mountain rains…Fall reflections alongside a calm blue-green sunset that caresses beds of tule on still waters.”—Gilberto R.