When I was making our plans for grade 1, I read that we should plan our break for the time of year that we naturally want to be outside enjoying nature. Combined with a few other things, taking our break in the fall seemed to make the most sense. We slogged on through summer; okay I slogged, because although I have been conditioned to think of summer as "summer vacation" my boys have no such preconceived notions. It was tough to completely give up the lazy days of summer and stick with word families and the four processes.
Fall arrived, as best she does in Southern California. The days are topping out around 80 degrees, and the evenings and mornings are cool. We put the comforter on the bed, and actually had to close some windows the other night. It's confusing weather; we need long pants and sweatjackets in the morning, but by midafternoon we're ready for sandals and short sleeves.
Saturday we finally got to experience the bounty of fall. Oh, we had a teaser Friday when we went to Oak Glen for apples, but Saturday we drove up the mountain and hiked to the Aspen Grove and then along Fish Creek. It was gorgeous, and I was fully reminded of why I thought autumn would be our best outdoor season. In winter it is cold and there might be snow on the trail, in spring it is humid and buggy, and in summer it is just too hot. But fall, well fall is perfect. The aspens were golden and quaking. Although the forest is mostly pine and fir, we did get glimpses of other fall colors.
Fall is pretty nice down here in the valley as well. The days are warm, but not too hot. It's cold enough to need a jacket when we walk at night, or to light a fire. J-Baby delights in the Halloween decorations we see everywhere, and his delight is contagious. The first winter squash arrive at the farmer's market, along with pomegranates and persimmons. There is fresh cider at the local market, and apples just up the hill.
It's my favorite time of year. I love buying lots of pumpkins and scattering them around the house. Our fall nature table was up a week early! As much as I look forward to the return of evening light each spring, in the fall I love the way the days grow shorter, coming to the time where we eat dinner in candlelit darkness. In the last weeks of fall we light the candles as soon as it gets dark and sing while we wait for Papa to come home from work (at least, we do on the nights that supper is prepared and doesn't require a lot of last minute preparation).
Perhaps, for most of you, summer truly is your best outdoor season. For anyone else, I encourage to break out of the box and truly consider which season would be best for your break.