Fall. A word with a slightly negative connotation, often associated with the fall of leaves from their branches, and a time of dullness and degradation. Nevertheless, there is nothing boring and depressing in the autumn time and here is the evidence.
Can you smell it? The fresh odor of humus floating in the chilly air of October is rampant on the countryside and indicates that a large amount of organic matter is being decomposed. Sleep or death for some, thriving and foraging for others! Fall is very often mistaken for being the season of annihilation because it namely corresponds to the logical transition from a living to a dormancy phase in the life cycle of many organisms in temperate climates. Some animals prepare for some difficult months ahead by building shelters and burrows, while deciduous vegetation lose their foliage. As the rhythm of days and their activity slow down, many other unsuspected creatures take over for a short period of time: the decomposers. Many invertebrates, bacteria, fungi and protozoa depend on this time of year for foraging and reproduction. The humid and still lukewarm conditions help them turn the freshly fallen leafy organic layer - humus, into mineral dirt and soil, which is the essential step that boucles the loop in the recycling of organic matter, permitting plants to grow back in the next spring.
Don't barricade yourself inside! Go out, taste, smell, breathe in. Fall is a heaven for the senses. You will see hues and colors that you cannot see in nature the rest of the year. You will also be able to hear and peek at some wild game, also in the process of activating themselves into finding a mate. Fall is also the perfect season for mushroom picking. If you have never tasted fresh chanterelles or ceps, buy a guide book and hit the forest for a fun mycologic adventure! Here is a little collection of fun-looking mushrooms that carpet the woods at this season: