Late Fall in the Twin Cities - An Authentic Minnesota Experience
Loving Late Fall Is an Authentic Minnesota Feeling
The November morning air has a bite and smells of crisp, and clean with a trace of spice. The days are unseasonably warm, but in the evening chill, there is a scent of fireplace smoke. Most of the trees are bare-limbed with the exception of a few stalwart leaves that cling desperately to their branches, like tiny chickadees in a windstorm. The sky that you see through the trees is a lighter blue or sometimes grey, and the sun streams through almost bare branches at a different slant. It's late autumn.
Here in Minnesota, we are expectant. The season has been exceptional with temperatures averaging 11 degrees above normal for this time of year. Geraniums are still blooming on my porch and friends tell me they see green shoots popping out of their flower beds and buds on their lilac trees. But we must not be tempted by fancy and think we are anticipating spring. There is no going back from fall, nor is there a fast forward button pushing us headlong into the progression of the season with a free pass on winter.
Yes, we are expectant as we wait for the first hard frost here in the Twin Cities, long overdue, though is likely this very evening. Waiting is not unusual for Minnesotans but was it a typical fall, frost would have visited Minneapolis some weeks ago and we would be prepared for snow. In the normal course of events, that too may follow quickly. I am not anxious for it you understand, but I am resigned and after 8 years of life in Minnesota I no longer need to pretend to enjoy certain aspects of the end of fall and the onset of winter. With the first flakes of snow more welcome to me now, I wonder if my transformation into an authentic Minnesotan is now complete.
There is a definite sense of authenticity that comes with embracing late fall in all its marvels and glory. It is a beautiful and bountiful season and I love things about it that go beyond the gorgeous natural displays of gold, orange, and russet we enjoyed a month ago. For me, there is a certain mystery that envelopes late fall that is missing in the other seasons. Perhaps it is because the light is more grey and ghostly and the mists rising off the lakes and streams seem preternatural. There is a maturity inherent in the richness of late fall as well and although it lacks the brashness of spring, or the light-hearted quality of summer, and the grandeur that is evident in the early weeks of the season, late fall is mellower, painted with a tinge of sorrow. It has wisdom because it knows life has limitations and it is contented in that knowledge.
Appreciate The Beauty That is The Fall in the Twin Cities
Before we head into the quiet restfulness and regal beauty of winter, let’s enjoy the physical pleasures of fall as well. For me, it is the crackling of a fireplace and smell of wood burning that brings an atmosphere of coziness to the dampest chill of a wet autumn night. It’s the simple joy of nestling into a warm sweater or the feel of your favorite scarf protecting your neck from the bite of the wind and wiggling your toes inside your favorite fleece-lined boots. It’s an afternoon with a good book, sharing a comfy chair with my snoring cat and a soft wool wrap keeping us both warm. It’s the smell of my spicy candle that fills the air with cinnamon, orange, and ginger.
Fall is also the season when comfort foods take on a new dimension as well. What’s better than a fall weekend with friends watching football and eating a great bowl of chili accompanied by a seasonal craft beer or a mug of hard cider? Nothing is as warming inside and out as a bowl of steaming hearty soup, filled with the great tastes of the season. This is the time to pull out your favorite recipe for beef stew and let it be the shining star of an autumn supper. Serve homemade pumpkin or apple pie for dessert with a glass of fresh sweet apple cider or a cup of hot tea. After a brisk walk, wrap your hands around a mug of steaming hot coffee or a pumpkin latte. These simple pleasures too, are late fall offerings.
Filled with contentment and peace from warm fires, food, and drink, we head into the last month of fall, into winter and year’s end. This is the perfect opportunity to sit back and take a deep breath and enjoy the quiet before the impending whirlwind of Winter Holiday activities arrive. Let’s weigh the outcomes of the preceding months, and review our options in the coming year. Let’s use this time to make fresh plans, to renew our hopes, and to dream new dreams as we expectantly wait for the arrival of winter because right now, as I write these last few words, very tiny flakes of snow fly past my window.