Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Legends of the Fall

Magnet # 348: Toronto Gold Leaf

Material: Wood

Purchased By: Mom & Dad

The season of Fall officially kicks off tommorow with Autumnal Equinox. On this day, the Sun is directly above the Earth at a position called subsolar point. Along with Vernal, or spring, Equinox, it's one of two days in the calendar year that has an equal amount of day and night. Although Autumnal Equinox is not as popular or well-known as either Solstice, it has still had its share of celebrations over time, including Mabon, Winter Finding, Harvest Home, and Second Harvest. Perhaps the best known, Mabon, is a Wiccan festival where celebrants give thanks to the dwindling sunlight and prepare for the approaching darkness. It was named after a Welsh deity, Mabon ap Modron, by academic Aidan Kelly in the 1970s. I guess if you want an excuse to celebrate tomorrow, Mabon and its fellow holidays ought to work.

This season may be a favorite of many, but I think I'd like Fall much better if I didn't know its arrival meant Winter was not far behind. It's temperatures are similar to Spring, and saving money on my electric bills by not having to run the air conditioning or heating is great, but I always know that much colder times are on their way. Plus, I tend to like bright Spring flowers much more than colorful Autumn leaves. I know there are plenty out there who adore Fall aesthetics, but I'm not really one of them. Of course, there are some positive aspects to Autumn. I've already mentioned how many of my favorite television shows return at this point of the year with all new episodes. I certainly appreciate getting to watch that. And, if you don't have children in a traditional school schedule, before Memorial Day and after Labor Day can be a great time to travel. Considering it's not part of the high tourist season, it can be much easier and cheaper to get good hotel rooms. Plus, the crowds have often died down at major attractions, meaning you can have an easier time talking to guides and getting a true appreciation of all these places have to offer. And, of course, it can also be nice to not have so many kids around - great as they my be, they can also make traveling a bit more stressful when they're acting up. Last year, I did the majority of my travels in the Fall when I went to the Mid-Atlantic in October and the Great Smoky Mountains in November. And I was very pleased at the good rates I got on my lodgings and by the fact that I didn't have to deal with large crowds. Still, I haven't really scheduled my travels in the Fall this year, opting for Spring and Summer journeys instead. Considering how sweltering my trip to Louisiana was, perhaps I should have pushed it back to this time of the year. And my second trip of the year to New England was deliberately scheduled to avoid the Fall. That's when the color change in the leaves brings in droves of tourists to admire the colors. It's also a big tourist destination in Canada and Eastern Asia, particularly China, Japan, and Korea. As I'm not a big fan of the fall change and I've heard all of the visitors can bring traffic to a standstill, I thought Summer would be a better time to visit. I was hoping the travel rates would be lower as well, but that didn't always prove to be the case, as there were still lots of travelers around the region. I guess I'm still trying to figure out a good, quiet time to visit New England when it's not also covered with snow. Perhaps it doesn't exist. But based on my experiences from this year and the previous one, I think I'll try to schedule more Fall ventures in the future. Between the moderate temperatures and the smaller number of tourists, it really is a good time to hit the road. Of course, it's also best to go before Daylight Savings Time ends and there's less light to drive in if you prefer not to travel at night. I know I'm much less comfortable driving in unfamiliar territory in the dark. Plus, you can't really enjoy any scenic spots you're passing by. Still, if you're looking for a good time to travel, this upcoming season may be it. Perhaps I'll take advantage of it myself - I've got a few more vacation days left to burn, and I'm always ready to hit the road again!


  1. Perhaps you would like Fall better if you saw a more colorful one. The Falls in the South are not noted for their beautiful colors.