Word on the street is you are looking for a favorite season. There are several varieties available, so you should consider all your options rather than make a quick decision. You need to do your research and thoughtfully consider all the aspects that make each season unique.

But since I’m here, I’d like to suggest you strongly consider autumn. It’s best not to linger on attributes such as it begins with a few rough storms and serves as a welcome mat for Ol’ Man Winter. For these reasons, it might be overlooked as a favorite. That’s why I feel compelled to serve as an advocate for autumn and provide you with the season’s strengths.

The storms can certainly be violent, but they also push out hot and humid and usher in cool and dry. You might not be a big fan of wind and rain, and who could blame you? How many times have you had to repair that fence, now?

While mending the fence and picking up the used food wrappers that blew into your bushes, do you look up? This year alone, I’ve counted five rainbows. And the post-storm cloud formations in the twilight sky have been breathtaking.

Better than a painting, my naive teen noted just last week. Of course the sky is better than a painting. A seasonally changing sky-scape is an artist’s muse.

As the cool air begins to swirl and circulate, consider the financial impact it has on your household. After several months of escalating power bills, autumn generously cools and warms our homes for us. To warm up a chilly morning, we can simply open blinds to allow the sun to pour through the panes.

As the day warms up, opening windows to allow cross ventilation cooling is not only an efficient way to regulate your home’s temperature, it also fills your home with a fresh scent. Fresh-air scented sprays aren’t needed when real fresh air is doing the work.

Making use of nature’s efficient, albeit manually controlled, heating, cooling and freshening systems saves us money. And these savings come at the perfect time for holiday shopping.

Autumn demonstrates Mother Nature’s desire for us to have more disposable income. We all know money in the hands of consumers helps the economy. I wonder if Mother Nature ever thought of running for public office? She’d certainly have the upper hand on environmental issues and economics.

Getting back to open windows, I implore you to consider the health benefits, as well. Open windows provide for more restful sleep. Leaves and branches rustling in the wind, crickets and birds singing, and on rainy nights, the pitter patter of droplets against the house make it much easier to drift off and stay asleep.

Will you be jolted awake by a passing car in need of a muffler every now and again? Absolutely. But for the most part, sleep comes much easier during cool, autumn nights.

In addition, when outside air passes through the interior of a house, it gently detoxifies the stale, inside air. The soft breezes sweep away chemical build-up in the air caused by things like household cleaners and the overuse of Axe body sprays by teenage boys.

Will you sneeze more due to autumn pollens, especially if you have allergies? Absolutely. But a rested body and detoxified lungs provide for a tougher stronger defense against allergy attacks. This could lead to you needing less allergy medication, which saves you even more money.

Autumn is also the season of healthy comfort foods. Finally it’s cool enough to begin the day with oatmeal. Sweetened with a few drops of local honey, which also protects against those allergies, and fresh berries, the bland mush becomes a bowl of yum. I also like to add nuts, which happen to be in season during autumn.

Chili and soups are also healthy, warm, autumn favorites. These slow-simmering cuisines fill the home with enticing aromas. They are also perfect for impromptu casual get-togethers with neighbors, family, and friends.

Will you indulge in the occasional deep-fried s’mores Pop Tart washed down with a swig or two of fried lemonade at a local or state fair? Absolutely. But when you start your days with oatmeal and end them with soup all week, a little fair cuisine on the weekend can’t be all that bad.

Entertaining comes much easier this time of year, as well. You don’t have to protect guests from the sweltering heat or bitter cold. Autumn doubles your entertaining space by allowing you to use indoor and outdoor space for your guests.

Winter brings the holidays, but also snow and ice. Spring brings the flowers, but also the highest pollen levels of the year and guilt from overspending and overeating during the holidays. Summer brings time off, but also costly vacations, mosquitos, and visits from out-of-town relatives.

As you can clearly see, autumn is the best of the seasons. So, select autumn as your favorite, and then open up the windows, start a pot of chili, invite some friends, and enjoy.


Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and author of "Thurston T. Turtle Moves to Hubbleville." She lives in Asheboro with her husband, three children and mother. Her e-mail address is mickibare@inspiredscribe.com