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Marilyn Heltzer: Fall time is best time of year for me

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What could be more lovely than Minnesota in the fall?

Many of us, including me, claim this season as our favorite. Then there are the folks who head south or west sometime after Christmas. They say it’s OK to miss Minnesota winters with the cold and snow and ice. And we, the hearty, understand their point of view. But winter does strengthen character, and with good nutrition and medical care, adds to our longevity.

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And for those of us who are gardeners, we can now grow our fingernails. If we have enough Vitamin D in our systems and I do work on that. But there are ladies who paint their long fingernails lovely colors (including black) in the fall and winter. The checkout lady at the grocery store where I shop has admirable long painted fingernails. They’re hers. And I learned that they grow best after gardening season.

Oh, fall. Our landscape goes to blazing red and yellow as the leaves turn color. Winter brings a blanket of white and it’s particularly nice for retired folks who don’t have to go out unless they really want to. And if winter comes, can spring be far behind? That’s the poet Shelley asking the question. He never lived in Minnesota. But I’ll give him this: the gentle green of spring does come, and goes on to full blown summer when the lakes go to sparkling blue. But some days are so hot, so hot.

So fall is easily my favorite season. It’s the season of Getting Ready. There’s show shoveling and plowing ahead and for some of us, it means lining up a guy to do the work, but even those with a strong-backed man or woman in the house, now is the time to know where is the snow shovel.

It’s the season to have the furnace checked and for those who live in the country, it’s time to hope for several inches of snow to cover the septic tank. Leaves or straw will do the trick, too.

It’s the season when the days get shorter and the nights get longer, and there are new TV shows, or a continuation of our favorites that left us hanging last spring.

We leave summer behind. Baseball and those poor Twins are history. There are folks who cheer for playoff and World Series teams. But not we Minnesotans. It’s on to the Vikings, and after that, the Timberwolves. I’m making it sound like I’m a sports fan, which I am not, but each season brings teams and statistics and hopes. Even those of us who don’t have a clue about leagues and franchises and team names and pay only mild attention to it all, we know that the Final Four comes around before the lakes thaw and yes, it’s one more thing to look forward to.

But now we have the colors of autumn, and the leaves gently descending. Soon there will be a couple of days with strong winds, and the trees will be stripped of their glory, and bare branches are skeletons against the sky. We, the hearty, breathe in the cold air when we step outside. We’ve brought out our winter coats and jackets and located gloves and mittens.

Hunting is just ahead, when shots ring through the woods and although I do have trouble with handguns, I understand about hunting.

You know that deer can read No Hunting signs, but I post my property anyway. Last year, I bought a blaze orange jacket for dog-walking. It’s another on the Getting Ready list.

Ask me in the middle of January about my favorite season, and I’ll still give the same answer, although by then spring will have its attractions. But now, in October, it’s fall, for sure.

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