Autumn is one of our four amazing seasons that we are able to enjoy in the northern region. Although it seems short with the cooling of the temperatures, the change in the leaves' color, and their quick descent to the ground, it all seems to end in our minds once the trees are bare. We interpret winter as the season when the trees are naked, but the fact remains that autumn technically runs from Sept. 22 through Dec. 20.

As one of the four seasons, fall has that distinctive smell of drying leaves lingering in the air and the sound of their crunch beneath our feet as we take a leisurely stroll. In years gone by, the autumn season represented the time for harvest. As with our own gardens, we are busy gathering the pumpkins, squash, gourds and Indian corn to use in our homes and as decoration for fall displays. The farmers are busy bringing in the sugar beets, corn, soybeans and sunflowers with their annual harvest of goods. No matter where we turn, the harvest continues.

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Apples are our main fruit crop during this season where orchards offer to customers to come out and pick your own in the groves. This activity allows you to pick just the right product for your use, whether it is for making pies, jellies, sauce, freezing, or for making good old-fashioned apple cider. Apple cider is very symbolic of fall activities and is full of pure autumn goodness.

There are many activities and festivals to participate in also such as the corn mazes for young and old alike, visiting a local pumpkin patch to select the perfect pumpkin or two, and going to seasonal gatherings. All events are good for bringing the family closer together for some mutual enjoyment and the building of new memories.

If you are a photographer, this is also a wonderful time to go out and capture some of the most amazing pictures nature can paint for a photo opportunity. The gold, orange, red and brown hues mixed in with the deep greenery of other vegetation nearly glows like a beacon within the scene. All of these colors have been in the leaves throughout the summer, but they were hidden under the green veil called chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the life blood of all living plants. It is the fluid that feeds a plant from the sunshine and other elements and allows it to grow. This greening process covers the nature color of each leaf in nature so all look similarly the same. When the daylight hours shorten and the temperatures begin to cool, this process comes to a halt. The sugars in the leave begin to build up and the chlorophyll begins to fade. Once the green hue of the chlorophyll has disappeared, the true colors of each leaf shine through. Although this exhibit only lasts from two to three weeks, it is one of the most colorful times of the year, second only to the profusion of blooms during the spring. Once the leaves have fallen, the trees and bushes slowly enter their dormancy period to endure the winter season that lies ahead.

Not only will you see the growing things slow down into their annual slumber, you will also notice the animals getting ready. This is the time when the birds, the bees and the butterflies begin their annual journey to the southern region to make it through to the following year. Waterfowl will be quite noticeable in the coming weeks within their huge "V" formations all heading on their way in the most efficient manner in the natural world. Some people even follow this trek to the south to avoid the harsh realities of the coming months.

Other animals begin to gather food for the next season. This is the time where seeds and nuts are ripe and the squirrels, chipmunks, gophers and various other animals are out gathering as many of them as possible for energy during the cold season.

The beaver are very energetic these days chewing on young and old trees alike to bring their nutritious bark and wood to their dens. The old branches and logs are used to create their lodges and dams so they always have water in which to enjoy in their own environments.

Keep an eye on the road for the deer as they are on the move during this season. Blending in with the natural colors of tans, yellows, and browns, these beautiful creatures can dart out quickly nearly without being noticed. Their most busy times are right after the sun sets until around midnight. It is their time to gather food and wander without being noticed.

Autumn is a season of activity in the plant and animal kingdom and even in our world. We are all doing the things during this season to get prepared for the winter, which quickly creeps upon us. Enjoy this current season, as with all the rest, it has its own unique and wonderful qualities and should be thoroughly experienced.