Fall or Autum, Either Way I Love It
Lake Lanier in Northeast Georgia
Football, Hunting Seasons, Apples, Pumpkins...
In my neck of the woods, poplar trees and sumac are the first to begin to change colors with yellows and reds with some purple and orange thrown in for fun. In dry years the color comes a little earlier and in years where summer rains are plentiful, a little later. But generally speaking, September usually marks the first inclination the seasons are about to change.
With school opening in are area as early as the first week of August, school doesn't have the same impact of the fall. Kids sweltering on playgrounds and at traditionally fall sports defy the fun of fall. Cheerleaders with limited options on outfits may have heavy, warmer outfits that aren't that comfortable in our area often continues to see temperatures hang in the 90s with matching humidity. The football players learn to live with it - taking more than normal water breaks and an occasional IV during the games. How ridiculous is it that a high school football player has to take IV fluids and electrolytes during a game to stay in.
Along with the school sports, there are the festivals! In our area every small town has their own special community party - from the crawfish festivals on the Georgia coast, to the Grits festival South of Macon, to the sourghum festival, apple festival, Gold Rush festival, Red Apple festival, and Mule Camp festival in Northeast Georgia, I love them all. The beauty of the region celebrated by so many folks that like to come and see what they don't get to see living in a big city or condo downtown is a great break.
Most of the festivals used to center around a local harvest. If you go further north it is plenty common to have a "corn queen." With the diversity of agriculture across the Southeastern US, we have so many different parties and more are coming particularly with the growth of the wine industry. More and more new wineries are literally taking root in the acid soils of the Southern Appalachians.
A traditional start to hunting season in Georgia is early squirrel season. Personally, I wait until after the first frost to chase the fur tail rats, but some folks kick off hunting season as a chance to be in the woods. It is cooler with all the leaves on the trees for a nice walk, but the old copperheads are still slithering about in August. Reason enough for me to wait a month or so. Following opening of squirrel, we get our first shot at Canada Geese usually around September 1, along with dove, those tasty morsels of dark meat that fly as fast as rockets. Later in September is early Teal season, the smallest of the ducks, migrating all the way to Mexico or the islands well to our South.
By the time early teal season comes in - usually that is about the time bow season for deer and bear opens in Georgia. Running for the next month or so, hunters can take deer and bears using only bows and arrows. This is also about the right time to be spending a great deal of time outdoors enjoying the early fall colors and cooler mornings. There is special skill required to take game with a bow. A rifle can reach hundreds of yards and still be extremely effective in the right hands. A bow is limited, for the most part, to under 50 yards, and more likely closer to 30 yards in most hunters hands. Practice, skill, luck and patience are all qualities required by good bow-hunters for any kind of game.
By the end of October in Georgia and surrounding states, firearms season opens for most folks. This may last as late as mid-January in some states of the South with limits of as many as a deer a day in some highly populated counties or 12 total in Georgia (with deer taken on wildlife managed hunts not counting toward totals). Grouse season opens mid-October in Georgia and it isn't until late November when quail, rabbit and ducks get to add to the pot.
While all this fun is going on in the woods, football is finally becoming a reasonable evening adventure. I don't know how it is where you live, but in the South - even practice is a past time of many of the parents! Hours are spent watching their young ones learning from their coaches all about sportsmanship, winning, and of course at times, losing. Of course that is different with soccer parents - they just play another "world championship" until their kids win. (just kidding). Baseball is over but girls softball is getting dusted off and there are usually some cross-country running events.
But the big game in the South is NCAA College Football. Identifying yourself by what team you support - regardless of if you or anyone in your family has actually ever set foot on the campus or even a satellite campus - is what we do. The "Bulldog Nation" encompasses tens of thousands of fans of the Georgia Bulldogs. I am sure you have your own sport, place to go or thing to do. I'd like to hear from you.
Any way you cut it, I love the fall. I am so looking forward to more cool nights and days, more time in the field and of course...Thanksgiving!
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