The fall of fall is here

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What has happened to the fall? I’m referring to the seasons of course, and not of the Roman Empire or any other government. Things just seem to be out of kilter.
I, like many people, enjoy the two periods of the year in which the temperatures outside match the desired room temperatures. Windows are slid open, fresh air is allowed to freely flow in and through the house, and just a touch of crisp, cool air entices one to pull the covers up over at night resulting in a blanketed sleep of security and comfort.
But we are being robbed.
The spring seemed it was much too short. (Don’t fact check me, this is an opinion and not meant to pull actual data up from the springtime, but I am sure I am right anyway.) And now the autumn is only making a brief visit as well.
I know, we can start a whole debate about whether man has created this disaster. We won’t go there. I prefer not to turn it into a political piece as we as a culture have become accustomed to do of late.
My son has explained his personal theory that we are gradually sliding to a two-season year. No spring and no fall, and no reason to have a winter or summer either. It should just be called hot and cold.
I explained to him that his theory doesn’t pass the scientific tests needed to become an accepted thought. But of course, anything with weather will be hard to do so due to one area of the country getting a completely different weather pattern than another. And after all, weather is a current or near-current state where climate is defined as a long period of weather patterns.
While I gripe about a shortened or non-existent autumn, I also remember swimming in a friend’s pool on Halloween and having a 70-plus degree day on Christmas.
This year, even the trees realize something is amok though. Our vivid colors of oranges, reds and yellows have all but deserted us. Instead, the trees are dropping leaves of green and letting them change colors while resting on the ground.
A recent trip into both Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain national parks offered rolling seas of green with blue-tinted mountains in the distance rather than the splattered brilliant earth tones that even Bob Ross couldn’t duplicate with his happy little brush and paints.
What does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Nothing probably. Some years we have great colors, some years we do not. It is just the way things work.
The weather hasn’t caused other inconsistencies. The elk are currently bugling like they should. (On a side note, if you have never heard the elk bugle, it is one of nature’s true pleasures. You should attempt to hear it while you can.) The whitetail will rut like it should. The crappie will head for deeper water. All will go as planned.
Yet we may have a brutal winter with near zero temps and layers upon layers of ice and snow. Or we may have a rather calm winter that allows more moderate temperatures. There is no way to know. We cannot even predict the weather with a consistent accuracy more than five days in advance, unless you consider accuracy being below the Mendoza line. (It’s October, so I had to throw a baseball reference in there. If you are unfamiliar with the Mendoza line, do a quick internet search.)
You know, all of this could just be how we perceive things in the current rather than the past. Quoting from one of the great movie conversations, we may just not be looking.
“Want to get some coffee or something?”
“I’m sorry, I’m really supposed to be somewhere after this.” Then after a pause, “Sure!”
Smiling and holding out his hand, “My name’s Tom.”
Responding, “Nice to meet you, my name is Autumn.”

Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter and outdoorsman. He teaches hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) in North Carolina. He is a member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association and Pope & Young, and is an official measurer for both.