Somehow it came. I don’t know how it happened, and I say this every year: How did summer go away and fall come to Idaho?

Now my immediate concern is to make sure you know I’m not bemoaning the arrival of autumn–although the nights are going to drop to a little chillier than even I, in my warm-bloodedness, was prepared for. I am just amazed. The summer was so hot and dry. Weeks and weeks without any sign of rain. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a summer like that, and I could probably be fine not seeing another like it any time soon.

But now it’s catch up time. All those things I should have been doing during the summer, and would have, if it hadn’t been so hot, now they are stacked up and staring me in the face with a great big grin.

Mind you, autumn truly didn’t come on with the speed it often does here. I’ve seen the bigtooth maples in the little side canyons of the Pocatello range burning bright red by mid-August, and this year it was well into September before the color showed up. But come they did at last, and wow, what a show. Stunningly beautiful, in spite of the ever-growing crowd trekking past our house to go up and see them, ironically taking away much of the peace, solitude, and tranquility that they would probably say they’re coming up here for.

But whether you like it or not, and whether you like what is to follow or not, when the snow falls and the wind blows icy cold, it is here. The sunlight spikes in from lower down the sky now, the smell of fall hangs on the air like a perfume—-a smell that actually means the death and decaying of many plants in the forest above us. But it is as if these dying plants felt they should gift all mankind with this one last present of wonderful scents that mean that most wonderful time of year is come at last, when the days are cool and crisp, the nights often cold, and the sky a crystal blue, thanks to the simultaneous dying of most of the horrendous wildfires we’ve suffered this summer.

Yes, autumn is upon us, and it has come with all its magic sights, smells, and feels, and even the songs of the birds that have been absent since last year. I don’t mourn the passing of the hot summer. I have longed for these cool autumn days, for this is the season in which I thrive.

Enjoy all seasons, as much as you can. For all of us, like I’m seeing, will soon taste the bitterness of knowing frailties, things we can no longer do so well that we used to love. Don’t stay cooped indoors. Run and play. Or walk and play. Or just sit. Soak it in. Listen to God talk to you about whatever he might be sending your way next: the great, joyful gifts, and the sad moments that help us grow and learn.

God bless you all, my friends.

Shoppers: If you would like to pick up a book that captures the magic of the seasons, click here to read 1999’s number one selling Western novel, Death of an Eagle, recommended by Lee Nelson, the author of The Storm Testament series, and best-selling novelist Loren Estelman.