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The beauty of autumn
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Just before 5 on Sunday morning, the seasons will change. The autumnal equinox is scheduled to take place at 4:51 a.m.

We, in the newspaper world, are very careful not to say something happened before it did. I have to write this stuff a few days ahead of when it arrives at your place.

I enjoy spring. There is something spectacular about watching nature awaken from its winter snooze.

I was liking summer until August came and brought all those days when the temperature went past 100 degrees. There is nothing good about 100 degree weather, even in places like Arizona where they give you that song and dance about "dry" heat.

When it gets unbearably hot, it gives me another reason to remember all the soldiers in Iraq, where 100 degrees is a comfortable day. I've got an air conditioned car, house and office to duck into. They, unfortunately, do not.

But fall, glorious fall, is here. There has been that little nip in the air this week as a prelude to fall. Not enough to warrant a sweater or jacket, but just a little hint of what's to come.

October is unpredictable. We've had Octobers where it was almost summer-like and we've had others where we had to break out the big coats. But somewhere along the way in October and into November, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will get a pretty good color show as the leaves trade their green for hues of red, gold and brown.

I had a job one time that took me across the mountains a couple of times a week. There is nothing as spectacular as watching the colors change right before your eyes. It seemed like just a moment as they went from green to gold to brown and then were gone. There's not a movie or picture book that can replicate the feeling of watching it first-hand.

But fall is also the time for foods. My wife cooked a pot of soup this week and it was wonderful. There is something about soups, stews and chili in the fall that just makes you feel good inside. The same is true for hot cider and hot chocolate.

The other nice thing is that we're not too far from those beautiful mountains. There are so many beautiful places to drive through or walk around. Places like Dahlonega, Helen, Hiawassee, Blairsville, Clayton and others have become wonderful destinations to shop, dine or just walk around.

There is something therapeutic about fresh mountain air under a blue sky on a cloudless day. If you could, you'd box, bag or can it to take home and enjoy again and again.

It's a beautiful state here in Georgia. We've got the spectacular mountains, the great piedmont, the coastal plain with it's fertile fields and the picturesque coast. I've lived all over this state and it's a wonderful place.

So, while we are careful in the newspaper business not to predict the future, I will suggest that you find an opportunity to drink in a little of the autumnal beauty of our great state this year.

I can't say for certain, but the odds are good that if you do, you'll come across a bunch of nice people, good food and a little nourishment for your soul. Those are things we never can get enough of.

Harris Blackwood, a native of Social Circle, is on the editorial board of The Gainesville Times. Send e-mail to