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50 things to remember about autumn


by Lou Bendrick

1. Autumn is protean, with its wintry mornings and summery afternoons.

2. The wintry part will win.

3. So get outside as much as you can.

4. But remember that hunters are out there, too.

5. Some of them will be hung over.

6. Treat them like grizzlies and make lots of noise on the trail.

7. It never hurts to put a dayglow-orange bandanna on the dog, either.

8. The dog will find this humiliating.

9. On chiseled fall days when golden aspen groves are framed by a deep blue sky, you will declare that autumn is your "favorite season."

10. You said that about summer.

11. No one is counting.

12. Fallen leaves have an earthy, sweet nostalgic smell.

13. Except when you are raking the lawn.

14. What the hell: Use those leaf bags that look like pumpkins.

15. It is a little-known fact that people who like Kandy Korn are trustworthy.

16. And that if you put your snowtires on, the warm weather will last longer.

17. The reverse is true if you plan an outdoor barbecue.

18. So don't ruin it for the rest of us.

19. You may put on a few pounds, have the urge to can peaches, or purchase flannel bedding.

20. This is a genetic thing.

21. The urge for single malt scotch is not.

22. It's just damn tasty.

23. On some crisp, gray evening, you'll get your first whiff of pion smoke.

24. This will remind you that you haven't ordered firewood.

25. A full cord is bigger than a face cord.

26. Some people start their pre-skiing exercises now.

27. Well, isn't that special.

28. Bears are hungry this time of year.

29. So be a good egg and lock up your garbage.

30. A mantra: A fed bear is a dead bear.

31. Patronize the farmers market until the bitter end.

32. It's a scientific fact that soup and autumn go together.

33. Don't feel pressured into serving it in pumpkin bowls.

34. And hopefully you didn't feel pressured into buying one of those fancy pumpkin carving kits.

35. Who needs a filigree pumpkin?

36. Triangles for eyes are perfectly respectable.

37. Buy an extra bag of close-out sale, post-Halloween trick-o-treat candy.

38. That bag of bite-sized Snickers is for you.

39. You will not cut a mean figure in fleece-lined jeans

40. In fact, you will resemble Winnie the Pooh.

41. They are snuggly, though.

42. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention football.

43. So consider it mentioned.

44. When working with freshly roasted chiles, do not touch your eyeball or pick your nose.

45. And for heaven's sake, wash your hands before going to the bathroom.

46. It is also a little known fact that people who make candied yams with mini marshmallows for Thanksgiving are depraved.

47. If you have to stop your car for a cattle drive, turn off the radio, hang up the phone and sit quietly.

48. Someday you are going to want to remember it.

49. It is absolutely true that woolly bear caterpillars can tell you what kind of winter it's going to be.

50. But they're not gonna.

-- Lou Bendrick is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News ( She lives in Telluride, Colorado.

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