Sugar Mountain, Banner Elk, Beech Mountain — if it’s October, that’s probably where you’ll find me. My husband and I have been coming to the mountains of northwest North Carolina for years. When our children were still in school, it may have been for a long weekend or during their fall break. As empty nesters, we have enjoyed spending two or three weeks in the mountains in October. The only year we missed was back in 2008 when our daughter was in her senior class play.
The basic reason we enjoy visiting the mountains in October is change. The season is changing and we are drawn to the mountains to see evidence of the change. I’ll break it down a little more.
Here are the five main reasons I love coming to the mountains in October.
The Weather – We live in central Florida. There is no such thing as cool, crisp Fall weather. Oh, sure, every once in a while, the day will start out in the fifties, but by the end of the day, we are back up to the eighties or nineties. I’m a life-long Floridian so I’m used to the heat, but round about October, I’m done with the heat and humidity. I need a change. We love the cooler weather of the mountains. There have been years when it has snowed. This year has been very mild. It was cold the first few days we were here but the last week or so it has been in the sixties — a good thirty degrees cooler than at home.
The Clothes — The cooler weather of the mountains allows me to put away my capris and sandals and enjoy wearing the fall fashions the rest of the country enjoys — cuddly sweater, flannel shirts, corduroy pants, boots. Of course, after this past week, I think I’m going to need to invest in some rain boots. I probably won’t need my sweaters in Florida until January, maybe.
The Food — There are a few things that we especially enjoy in the mountains. Sure, I can make them at home, but it’s not the same. We always have a big pot of chili at least once. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin French Toast, apples cooked down with cinnamon and hot apple cider and apple butter from the Valle Country Fair. Some things just taste better on a crisp, fall day in the mountains
The Color — The color is always the highlight of the visit. If you stay long enough, you can experience witnessing the subtle change which occurs day by day. We are always amazed by the color. We sometimes hear the locals talking about how the colors aren’t as good that year. It’s ALWAYS more color than we would see in Florida. Our leaves just turn brown before they fall. A few years back, we went on a Fall Foliage tour from Boston into New Hampshire. I anticipated seeing the kind of color you see in pictures. We were evidently too early because the bus driver struggled to point out a tree or two that had started to change color. We commented to each that we had seen prettier colors in the mountains of North Carolina.
The Evidence of A Creator — The beauty of nature seems to make me reflect more on God as creator. There is so much beauty in the mountains; the rocky peaks reaching to the sky, the mountains and hills covered in a multi-colored blanket, streams and rivers where water tumbles over rocks and boulders, the variety of trees — Christmas trees to deciduous trees ablaze in yellows, oranges and reds, the animals — deer, groundhogs, chipmunks, turkeys, bears, and so many songbirds. The variety of what we see in creation leaves me in awe.
Autumn is a time of change and I’m so thankful that I get to experience it in the mountains. The seasonal changes in Florida, where I live, are more subtle. Maybe that’s why I enjoy autumn in the mountains so much — it gives me a chance to see and experience a visible change. It gives me a chance to mark the transition from one season to another.
Sometimes, there is a little melancholy to autumn. It marks the end of another year. Things are winding down. Ironically, it marks the beginning of another school year here in the U.S. I know I often fret over what I did not get done at this point in the year. But, we have the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to.
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”Unknown
That is one of my favorite quotes about autumn. Watching the leaves in the trees go from green to yellow to orange to red before they fall is enthralling. Even seeing a carpet of colorful leaves on the ground is a beautiful thing. But, the leaves had to die in order to create the beauty. They had to let go. It reminds me of things that I need to release. I think I’ll start with letting go of the regret of all the things I did not accomplish this year.
How about you? Do you live in a place where you experience the seasons? What’s your favorite thing about autumn? Where is your favorite place to enjoy autumn?