The Glory and Sadness of Fall …

“October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came –
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.”
~ George Cooper (October’s Party)

Fall in Minnesota is a glorious time. The woods are a glow with colors, alive with animals preparing for winter and a multitude of traveling birds. The pesky bugs are basically gone, we enjoy temperate weather great for evening campfires and the forest smells are warm.

This year I have had to glimpse Fall from my windows. Thankfully, I am blessed with big windows and a 360ΒΊ view of my woods, a lake, and all the critters that visit it. The birds are flocking. A few days ago I was surprised to find a huge flock of robins and flickers together enjoying the bird bath and freshly cut grassy areas of my yard. I have a new visitor, a red fox. He walks through my yard every day like he is on a mission. He does not stop to explore or sniff around like my camera and I would appreciate, but when he does I will post a picture.

Early morning in the Fall woods is an especially magical time. Yesterday morning was exceptional. A cool morning with a light fog rising off the lake where two swans were swimming. A flock of very noisy geese flying over several times. Circling and honking to each other as if they were searching for the perfect spot to take a rest and arguing about it. Two deer walking down the path to the lake and eating the still green plants that can be found there. And, later in the day, a multitude of ducks puddling in the lake.

There are several critters that are definitely not wanted and causing me some grief these days. The squirrels seem to be in a destructive mode … finding a way into the vent on my fireplace and shredding things on my porch for nesting materials. A snoopy skunk who decided to check out my porch the other night. When I turned on the outside light to scare away what I thought were raccoons, to my surprise it was a skunk. He was scared by the light and instead of just running away decided to leave a dose of his scent behind.

Fall is also hunting season. Hunters are wandering in the woods on foot and all-terrain vehicles. Animals are skiddish, running, hiding, bounding up out of ditches into cars. Gunshots echo through the trees. I have mixed feelings about the hunting. When done in a respectful, old-fashioned way I can see that it is a sport and even needed to control populations. But, so often hunting practices among the visitors (and some locals) to the area is far from sport. The invasion of these hunting strangers at times is destructive.

When I first started blogging, I wrote a post on bears, food, and hunting … specifically, bear-baiting. It is a practice I find detestable and as far from sport as you can get. However, it is legal in this State and the way bears are hunted. I only bring this up in a second post because sadness is filling the bear loving community. Hope, the bear cub so many of us seen born live on the internet and watched grow during her first year is dead. A hunter shot her when she visited a bear-baiting site alone.

Click here for the daily updates and Hope’s story. (Picture from the Bear Study 2010 daily updates)

Many of you probably heard about her death as it made the National news. You may have even wondered where my post on it was since I had blogged about Hope so often in the past. The fact is that her death has left me speechless and sad .. I don’t know what to say about it. Hope was a special bear that was teaching the world so much about the lives of bears, dispelling the scary stories and replacing them with a humanitarian view. We lost more than a small bear, we lost an educational opportunity. (My other post on how to live with bears)
Discussion show that people are mostly sad and full of questions. What if that feisty little bear would have had a research collar that would have offered a small amount of protection like her mother Lily does? … what if she did not wander off alone? … what if the hunting laws were different? What ifs are not an answer … it is too late, it happened. However, the what ifs and all the public concerns may help lead us to changes.

The Fall Season presents us with a contradictory thoughts and emotions because it is an in-between time, it is a doorway ending one season and beginning another. It is a beautiful, shockingly glorious time of year offering us bright colors, a variety of wildlife, and wonderful weather. It is also signals an end. It pushes us to move into the cold, dark, whiteness of winter. I feel fortunate this year that I have the extra time to rejoice in its spectacular departure in a blaze of colorful glory.

(FYI: I have finally caught up with the Photo Challenges I missed while in the hospital, check out my pictures here.)

“Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?”
~ Hal Borland

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~ by bearyweather on October 2, 2011.

14 Responses to “The Glory and Sadness of Fall …”

  1. It’s starting to get really pretty there. I so love the colors of Autumn. So sorry about Hope. There are many pros and cons to hunting. I don’t like the idea of the animals being baited or chased down by dogs.

    • This was an extra pretty Fall for me, I am usually so busy working I do not get to see much of it. I only got outside for brief periods to get my pictures, but I feel lucky I did because the winds blew forcefully the past 2 days and the leaves were all knocked down.
      Little Hope was so famous, maybe her death will bring about some changes … we can only hope.

  2. Thank you for the lovely fall pictures which I remember so well from growing up in Minnesota. And thank you also for your comments on Hope. I agree completely with your view on hunting.

    • Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. People always think of Minnesota as a freezing, snowy place … and we have a ton of that. But, we are paid back with so many other great things, like our beautiful woodsy Falls and gorgeous lakes.

  3. I certainly agree with you about the glory and the sadness. I am a hunter, although I seem to hunt a lot less every year, but I can’t stand baiting of an animal. Those who do so are not real hunters, and I won’t say here just what I would call them. Sadly, there are lots of them around though. It’s really a shame about that little bear!

    Beautiful photos of the fall colors!

  4. Beautiful yet sad post, Bearyweather. I was so sorry to hear about Hope. But I am glad you’re able to have the time to enjoy autumn’s glory days. πŸ™‚

    • If I could have had the choice of when to be sick and homebound, i could not have chosen a better time. I feel very fortunate that I have the ability to enjoy this colorful time at home … sure beats thinking about being stuck at home for weeks with 30 below, dark and snowy days.

  5. Wonderful essay, and sad news about Hope 😦

  6. I’m sorry to hear about Hope. No, had not heard… Very sad. I was wondering how you have been doing, bearyweather. Hoping you are feeling better and that your pain/illness falls away like the leaves falling from the trees.

    • I am sorry to share the sad news of Hope
      … Yes, I am getting stronger every day … it definitely is blowing away like the leaves. The whole horrible event that seemed to drag on for an eternity is drifting away into just a bad dream, too … I am looking forward to a healthier more active life real soon. Thanks for the nice Fall thoughts.

  7. Hi Bearyweather, You are a skilled writer! I so enjoy reading your posts. Yes, in nature, waste is not the norm. I wish you a most pleasant day tomorrow!

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