Fall has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. Perhaps that’s because my birthday falls within the season, but I suspect it has more to do with other things that I love about autumn. And since ponies entered my life, I’ve developed an even greater appreciation for the season.
In the mountains, fall arrives before the autumnal equinox. When I lived at 7,500 feet above sea level, I usually detected the arrival of fall around August 19. Here at 9,000 feet, it arrives about a week earlier. There is a subtle shift in temperature and wind that heralds the arrival of the season. And leaves begin to turn about then, too. By the time the equinox rolls around, many of the leaves are already past their prime.
The fall colors here may not be what people in other regions get, but I sure appreciate them. This year especially the aspens have been glorious. Aspens are typically yellow, but this year we’ve had more reds, some of which have bordered on mahogany. The ground-level plants have also been more spectacular than usual, including the wild roses and whortleberry. The photograph here shows wild roses with aspen leaves on the ground beneath them.
Fall is the best season here for ponies for many reasons. The cooler temperatures are of course welcome, and colder air knocks down the insects. The pastures are dying back, so even the easiest of keepers can be out doing what they love best all day every day. From a pony partner’s perspective, I appreciate that green grass isn’t there to distract my mount from our travels. My ponies always look their most fit and healthy in autumn, as they should in the natural cycle of things.
Fall is never long enough. The colors disappear before I am quite done appreciating them, and freezing temperatures arrive that necessitate not only a change in clothing but also changes in feeding and watering routines. We are always at our busiest in our business in the fall, trying to finish projects that need completing before snow and freezing temperatures, so it can be a challenge to take a few minutes to appreciate the season. Most years, though, this one included, I take pictures of the same trees with their most recent colorful adornments. And this year I took the camera out on a trail ride to capture some of the foliage. Within a day of the photos, the foliage had diminished already, making me thankful that I had resisted the pressure of the season and taken some time with my pony friends to enjoy what makes it special.
With gratitude to my friend Judith Bean for inspiration.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2016