Midwestern leaves, exhausted from dressing up every day for the gala event of Autumn, slip into soft brown dressing gowns and fall any which way into heaps and piles for their winter slumber.
The sun decides it has lavished enough radiance on us to last through next year. It grants a few gracious hours but transfers the bulk of its favors to another hemisphere that has impatiently waited its turn for light-drenched days.
Creatures that abandon the Midwest and follow the sun call anxiously to each other to hurry. Snow is coming! Hurry! Those animals required to stay spend waning days gathering food and fatness to themselves, driven by an uneasy urgency. Male deer, knowing that late fall will shed their enticing, entrancing antlers as ruthlessly as it sheds leaves from trees, parade in front of females, libido-impelled to ignore dangers of shotgun blasts and headlights.
The ground feels the warmth seep away, sparing only a bit for some hardy mums and asters. It steels itself to endure the crushing weight of tractors, rakes, and combines, hugging the knowledge that soon a comforter of snow will shield it from raw winds and ravaging machines and it can rest and recuperate till spring.
Then comes the wind. It bullies from branches the few leaves that were hoping festivities would resume. It shouts down the birds who spent the summer singing in the dawn until, recognizing an adversary with greater endurance and endless reserves, they give up altogether and are silent.
The glorious extravaganza of a Midwest autumn is over. It won’t celebrate again till next year. It retires to dream up the perfect date, theme and invitation list for Autumn 2012, and allows Fall to work out last minute details with Winter on the exact date the White and Ice Festivities will commence.