By George A. Hancock
September 1 begins Meteorological Autumn. Weather organizations like the National Weather Service (NWS), in order to maintain more uniform weather records, use the time span from September 1 through November 30 for recording autumn weather data. This point confuses many folks. These folks grew up believing autumn begins on the Vernal Equinox which falls this Leap Year on Tuesday, September 22. These individuals are frequently referred to as traditionalists.
The daily runner realized one point is readily evident. September begins autumn’s run. The road sights clearly depict autumn weather. Perhaps the most obvious sign is the decreased daylight. Runners notice this September feature both on morning and evening runs.
This runner joined the morning run club in 1995. One notices seasonal progression while running every morning at the same time. Yes, shrinking daylight is a September feature. Yet, this is not a point to fear or shirk. Our high-visibility reflective running gear is superb. I use a rechargeable hand-held road light. This light illuminates my running path and alerts motorists to my presence.
Another great feature of our autumn run is the cooler weather. This past summer, running in the Laurel Highlands, was a sweaty experience. Greater Johnstown in July recorded the hottest weather in recorded history. Many locations had temperatures in the 90s day after day. The smart runners got their miles in very early or late in the evening.
I live in a very hilly area. The hills and grades provide a great workout. However, the humidity factor adds a dangerous level to our daily run. Autumn weather eliminates that issue in our region. The humid tropical pattern is gone until next summer. We now run those hilly routes in cooler crisp air. The run is refreshing.
Autumn’s run bring spectacular colors to our local ridges. We are blessed here in the Laurel Highlands to live amidst rolling green ridges. Although the highest peak in my region is around 2700 feet, the view from atop any ridge is breathtaking. Those fall colors steadily spread across our hills and valleys. Red, yellow, orange, and other hues in various combinations dominate our landscape.
My daily autumn run is incredible. Our region has so many green surfaces. Trees dominate our local landscape. A drive from Johnstown to Windber features a vast sea of green trees. Now add the autumn season with changing foliage and one has a marvelous panoramic view. The seasonal colors are superb.
Although much of my autumn run is dark, those autumn colors are still visible. The changing leaves, especially the maple leaves, tend to reflect light. The result is an excellent morning road view. Streetlights, ad signs, even car headlights reflect off the changing foliage. Morning runners even in the quiet dark view the steadily changing foliage.
Those never leaving their buildings miss this seasonal splendor. Autumn’s delightful color run lasts only so long. Soon, those same leaves will wither and steadily slip down covering the ground. A significant clean-up chore awaits those privileged to reside near these shedding trees.
My post-run mornings feature raking and cleaning up autumn’s debris. My hedges serve as a yard barrier blocking and attracting these wayward leaves.
I do not like to mulch these fallen leaves. Mulched debris serves as great cover for ticks and other insects. I rake up those leaves. I also clean up the nearby neighbor’s yards. This insures those leaves will not blow elsewhere. And, those collected leaves serve as perfect compost fuel.
Yes, September begins autumn’s run. One of our more colorful running seasons. Despite the uncertainty prevalent these days, autumn continues to offer scenic beauty. And, numerous delicious fresh-picked apples.
Plus, this is the season of Brach’s Candy Corn and Autumn Mix. Two more reasons to enjoy autumn’s splendor. So, get outside and enjoy. Run well, run safe!