Signs of Fall

Fall or autumn is my most favorite time of the year, and this year it came right on cue on September 22nd.

Fall in north Florida doesn’t come with gorgeous leaf colors or an early smattering of snow, but it heralds cooler days and nights, less humidity and a decrease in the number of bugs. Finally we can go outside and enjoy the exceptional weather without melting or ending up with a new crop of bug bites.

My husband and I love to hike the nearby public lands and we are incredibly fortunate to have two State Wildlife Preserves just a couple of miles away from our home. This morning we did a six mile loop. The only other people we saw was a group of horse riders who had trailered their mounts into the area.

We saw plenty of game spoor, including deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, feral wild boars, and bears, but we didn’t see a single animal. Other times we’ve been amazingly lucky to have watched a new born fawn gambol around its mother, totally unaware of our presence, and we’ve had four encounters with black bears.

The Florida black bear is endangered, and it is so uplifting to see them thriving and living in our back yard. We’ve seen single bears on three occasions and a mother with two cubs one time. They’ve never been aggressive toward us, but rather they just ambled away and ignored us.

My only regret about fall is that it gives way to winter, and just as we don’t have a spectacular leaf changing autumn in Florida, we don’t have anything as enchanting as snowfall in winter. It just gets really cold.

On the plus side, there is something very appealing about sitting in front of a crackling fire with a good book sipping a mug of hot chocolate.

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