red leaf trees near the road

Note: Although I wrote this piece for The Sun one year ago, it is appro­pri­ate for this time of year. Any year. —Pete

I went out for my usu­al ear­ly morn­ing walk recent­ly and took in a gor­geous autumn spec­ta­cle. A crys­tal blue sky ruled over a land­scape burst­ing with fall col­ors: pur­ple dog­woods, bril­liant orange maples, deep red oaks, and gold­en yel­low poplars.

The day was a bit chilly, just enough to remind me that cold­er days are com­ing, but not so cold as to make a brisk walk uncomfortable.

As if on cue, I looked up at one point and saw the famil­iar “V” for­ma­tion of geese head­ed south. I waved, and they honked as they passed overhead.

Some peo­ple love liv­ing in a place where sun­shine and warmth abound year-round. Some folks like cool weath­er and would pre­fer the tem­per­a­ture nev­er got above 70. Others — the “snow­birds” — choose to live in a tem­per­ate cli­mate but migrate south in the win­ter to avoid the win­ter cold.

There is some­thing about mov­ing from one sea­son to the next that I find inspir­ing. I guess I’ve always been a seek­er of nov­el­ty. The tran­si­tions from sea­son to sea­son are things I look for­ward to every year.

Me, I love all four seasons.

One of the things I find appeal­ing about liv­ing in Central Kentucky is the cli­mate. Neither our sum­mers nor win­ters are too extreme. We have some­thing for every­one, from hot sun­ny days for fun in the sun to snowy peri­ods for those more inclined to win­ter activities.

Nothing beats the chang­ing sea­sons for me. I was remind­ed of this last Sunday as my wife and I took down and put away our Halloween dec­o­ra­tions and began plan­ning for Christmas. In between are the fall- and Thanksgiving-themed things around the house.

There is some­thing about mov­ing from one sea­son to the next that I find inspir­ing. I guess I’ve always been a seek­er of nov­el­ty. The tran­si­tions from sea­son to sea­son are things I look for­ward to every year.

The first snow­fall of win­ter was mag­i­cal to me as a child — and it still is. The trans­for­ma­tion of the land­scape to a white won­der­land is amaz­ing. Have you ever noticed that every­thing looks beau­ti­ful under fresh snow­fall? Even a junk­yard becomes a mas­ter­piece when frost­ed in a lay­er of snow. The air feels clean and fresh. The world gets qui­eter as the blan­ket of snow muf­fles sounds.

The arrival of spring is her­ald­ed by nature’s re-awak­en­ing: the emer­gence of tulips and daf­fodils, the return of ear­ly morn­ing song­birds, and the cho­rus of peep­ers at night­fall. And of course, warmer temperatures.

The tran­si­tion from spring to sum­mer is usu­al­ly more grad­ual, some­times bare­ly notice­able. But as the days grow longer and the sun ris­es ever high­er above the hori­zon, heat and humid­i­ty are sure to fol­low. Although it can get quite uncom­fort­able in these parts dur­ing the sum­mer, I tru­ly love it. Besides all the out­door activ­i­ties one can do, I think the best parts of sum­mer are the evenings. I love to get out and walk after dark on a warm sum­mer evening.

And this brings me back to the start of autumn. This is prob­a­bly my favorite tran­si­tion. Though the short­en­ing hours of sun­light and cool­er tem­per­a­tures do tend to bring a sense of melan­choly, that’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly a bad thing. I’ve learned to embrace it.

I’ve heard it said that the secret of hap­pi­ness is to learn to enjoy one’s present cir­cum­stances, no mat­ter what they may be. I think that’s right.

The loom­ing threat to all this is, of course, glob­al cli­mate change. One of the crit­i­cal effects of our chang­ing cli­mate is a trend toward more extreme and unpre­dictable weath­er. We are already see­ing these effects, and they will only wors­en in the com­ing years. Unless human­i­ty can get it under con­trol, cli­mate change threat­ens to dis­rupt the pro­gres­sion of sea­sons in tem­per­ate cli­mates such as ours to the point of los­ing our sea­sons as we know them.

We must do some­thing — and quickly.

But for now, I will enjoy the autumn in Winchester. And then win­ter, spring, and sum­mer. The snow­birds can have their sun­ny, warm Florida win­ters. I’ll take all four of my Kentucky sea­sons, thank you very much.

This arti­cle appeared in The Winchester Sun on Thursday, November 5, 2020.

  • Pete Koutoulas

    Pete is an IT pro­fes­sion­al work­ing in Lexington. Formerly of Campton, he and his wife have lived in Winchester since 2015. Pete is a for­mer week­ly news­pa­per pub­lish­er and for­mer colum­nist for the Winchester Sun. These days, when not work­ing he can often be found on his back porch read­ing or writ­ing, in the back­yard tend­ing to his toma­to plants, or put­ter­ing around in his garage or work­shop. Reach Pete at pete@wincitynews.org.