Oct. 13 WEEKENDER: Second Opinion – My favourite time of year?

Fall must be my favourite time of year, isn't it?

Grand Forks Gazette WEEKENDER columnist Jim Holtz

Grand Forks Gazette WEEKENDER columnist Jim Holtz

Fall must be my favourite time of year.

When the sun is shining in September and October, the temperature is around 20 C and that smell of leaves and earth is in the air, it is almost impossible not to want to go for a long walk.

What could be better than striding through the woods, inhaling the cool, crisp air, observing the squirrels hustling from tree to tree gathering seeds for the winter?

Oh, yes, winter. I suppose the fact that winter is coming does put a damper on things. Especially as you get older.

Winter. That time of year when everything grows cold and still. When the entire countryside is covered in a cold, white shroud.

The thought of winter does put fall in a slightly different light. Walking through the woods, dragging your feet through those lovely coloured leaves that were once so young and green reminds you that …

And the bare branches of the trees, stark against the sky.

What did Shakespeare call them? “Bare ruined choirs” – branches that were once fit and strong, now feeble and brittle, just like …

And the days that only a few months ago seemed to go on and on forever now grow ever shorter, the darkness arriving far, far too soon …

And the wind, no longer a balmy breeze but now a chill, stark blast that penetrates through to the bone, making you shorten your stride and quicken your step, hurrying you along the trail, making you want to turn back, return to the comfortable chair by the wood stove and the bright kitchen lights.

Perhaps fall isn’t my favourite time of year.

No, now that I think about it, spring is my favourite time of year.

It is wonderful to go for long walks in the spring. The air is fresh, the snow has gone, the sun seems to grow warmer every day.

In the spring, that walk through the woods that was so depressing in the fall, now brings nothing but joy and optimism.

Green shoots are pushing their way through the old dead underbrush, buds are sprouting on the trees, the whole world seems to be regenerating, young and vibrant and healthy again, reminding you that …

Oh, right.  I’m pushing 70 and, unlike the squirrels, I’ve got gout. Spring’s not that great either.

– Jim Holtz is WEEKENDER columnist and former reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette