Welcome fall, your charisma draws us in, and out

“It’s the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”

— Winnie the Pooh

Happy Fall! Today is the autumnal equinox, ushering in a season — as the most famous resident of the Hundred Acre Wood so gleefully conveys — replete with delights.

Sunshine without summer’s humidity and cool evenings for strolls or s’mores make it the most inviting time to be outdoors for Midwest denizens. While the jury’s still out on sanctioning the term “leaf peeper,” there’s no debating the mesmerizing power of panoramic vibrant fall foliage.

Hinsdaleans are fortunate to be in close proximity to stunning displays of fall foliage, including Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Waterfall Glen in Darien and the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, to name just a few. Those able to take a day trip can head out to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby to see colorful, tree-covered bluffs along its 15 miles of hiking trails.

In her poem “The Heat of Autumn,” Jane Hirshfield speaks to another tree-sourced object of fall fun.

“The heat of autumn is different from the heat of summer. One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider,” she writes.

Families can fill their bushels at one of the several apple orchards in the area (a roundup of them ran in the Sept. 8 issue and is available online) while sampling all the different treats derived from the fruit. Pumpkin patch visits are not far behind, with the clock ticking on Halloween costume selections. How many Queen Elizabeth II tributes will we see among the trick or treaters on Oct. 31?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her poem “The Autumn” speaks to this transitional time of year.

“Go, sit upon the lofty hill, and turn your eyes around, where waving woods and waters wild do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is faint on them — the summer flowers depart — sit still — as all transform’d to stone, except your musing heart.”

That movement through life’s stages is on full display this week for Hinsdale Central’s homecoming. Social media feeds display the high fashion of the dancegoers while alums reunite to rekindle old friendships and catch up on how their journeys have unfolded. Check out The Hinsdalean’s coverage in today’s issue – and make plans to cheer on the Red Devils Friday night!

Alas, like high school graduates that are released into the larger world, the leaves’ collective display will soon be scattered.

In her book “Where the Crawdads Sing,” author Delia Owens takes a unique view of the tree shedding: “Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”

George Eliot, in a letter to a friend, writes of the feeling fall inspires: “Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize.”

For ways to experience that special harmony, turn to Page 42 for our extensive “Fallapalooza” listing of area activities scheduled in the coming weeks. Then get out and enjoy — and don’t forget to add some pumpkin spice.