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Play While the Sun Shines

Autumn, our third season, marks the transition from summer to winter. Delicate summer fruits give way to crisp apples and pears. Leaves on the trees turn glorious shades of red, orange, and yellow before cascading to the ground. While the season offers opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, our focus begins to turn inward as hours of daylight become fewer.
Have you ever heard someone say “make hay while the sun shines”? This expression is thought to have originated among medieval English farmers who needed sunny, hot, dry weather for cutting, drying, and gathering hay. Every able-bodied person was expected to seize the opportunity to harvest when conditions were right. Once the weather turned cold and wet, hay could not be harvested.
Most of us have no crops to bring in, yet sunny autumn days are fleeting, and we do ourselves a favor when we play while the sun shines. Seize the opportunity to get outdoors and experience all autumn has to offer. Engage the senses and savor the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the season. Invite a friend or gather the family for a search of seasonal delights.
Those glorious autumn leaves demand attention. Soak up their beauty as you walk around the neighborhood or hike a favorite trail. Listen to the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet. Feel the warmth of the sun and the cool, crisp air on your face.
Bring a basket and gather leaves and twigs, acorns from beneath oak trees and samaras –  that distinctive fruit of maple trees commonly called “helicopters” or “whirlybirds.” Spy a feather? Pick it up. As you fill the basket, observe the colors, shapes, and textures. Imagine creative ways to use your bounty. Or simply appreciate the beauty of what you’ve collected. A shallow basket or a wooden dough bowl makes a perfect repository for such gifts from nature.
If you’re lucky enough to live near an apple orchard, take a trip and taste test the different varieties. Then buy a bushel and a peck of your favorites. Some orchards even allow customers to pick their own. That’s our chance to participate in a harvest. Stock up for eating and baking. As night falls earlier and earlier and the temperature drops lower and lower, people tend to bake more. Delicious and nutritious, baked apples are a traditional autumn dessert – ideal after a day of making play while the sun shines.

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