ON SPLENDID October weekends, we pity all those people who abandoned Northeastern Pennsylvania over the decades and settled in Sarasota, Sun City West or some other Sunbelt spot where fall is purely a verb and not a season that rouses the senses and shores the spirit by showing there can be beauty in transition – even the most drastic ones.
Get outdoors and appreciate what those transplants can't.
Gander at a mountainside flecked with Crayola colors: yellow orange, raw sienna and goldenrod. Seek out a nearby state park – such as Ricketts Glen or Lehigh Gorge – and tread on trails carpeted by red offerings from maple trees and certain oaks. With each step, listen to the crackle from beneath your souls. Breathe.
At Nescopeck State Park today, celebrate the season during its fall festival. Elsewhere in the area, stop at a roadside stand or orchard selling pumpkins, apples and gourds. Sip cider. Find a haunted house or hayride. In darkness, savor the crisp air and the sweetness of a hot chocolate.
Swish through leaf piles accumulating in the yard. Hear the passing geese honk, the plop of acorns. Is that wood smoke? Study the nervous squirrel as it chatters.
At day's end, retreat into your house, taking pleasure in its warmth and light, and the knowledge that although there is a certain finality to fall, it is not the end.
See where leaves are at their peak in Pennsylvania; visit the state Tourism Office's fall foliage report: www.visitpa.com/fall-pa
Get details about state parks in Luzerne County at these websites:
• Frances Slocum State Park: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/francesslocum/
• Leigh Gorge State Park: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/lehighgorge/
• Nescopeck State Park: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/nescopeck/
• Ricketts Glen State Park: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/rickettsglen/