Autumn sights are unmistakable. The landscape is awash with the colors of changing leaves. Sunsets are coppery. Fall smells are evocative: cider, smoke from burning leaves, and the singed pumpkin of a jack-o-lantern plug.
The sounds of fall are distinct too. Crickets call. As E.B. White wrote in Charlotte’s Web, “they sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad monotonous song.”
Crisp, dead leaves cover the ground and swish and crunch underfoot. Squirrels chatter and raise a leafy rattle as they scurry for acorns to bury and find again as fall fades into winter.
Deer look for mates and they move restlessly. Bucks vying for dominance fight, and their antlers clack and scrape. A lone deer suddenly surprised is likely to snort.
Migrating geese cut across autumn skies in wide Vee's, belting out calls of reassurance to one another. The chorus of honks fills the chill air first softly, then stridently, and then fades away. A new fleet takes up the call, then it passes too and the relay continues, sometimes for hours.
Spend sometime outdoors this fall enjoying the sounds as well as the sights and smells.
Colors of the Fall
How do leaves change from all shades of green to shades of vibrant orange, deep red and golden yellow? It's all about science.
- Shedding leaves allows trees to conserve water during the dry months of winter.
- As autumn days get shorter, other colors replace the greens in tree leaves. Many of the leaf’s chemicals and nutrients move into the tree trunk. The veins that carry the tree’s food in and out of the leaf gradually close, and the base of each leaf is sealed.
- Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes the greens appear. The green leaf begins to fade when the sealed veins don’t allow the leaf to replace its chlorophyll. Then the yellow, orange and brown pigments already in the leaves shine through.
- Leaves of shrubs and trees turn color in October and are usually shed by November. If fall days are warm and sunny with cool nights, the colors will be at their brightest. If heavy frosts persist, they’ll be dull and fade.
For more on fall colors, head on over to this vintage Discover Nature Notes post.