This time of year I always welcome the change of pace. That is not to say that there is less to do in the outdoors it just becomes easier to take a day and sit by the fire and read a little more. Sometimes I need to remind myself that this is ok. Mostly so I won’t feel guilty not tying more flies or preparing for the next trip or adventure. I find the reflection and self enrichment very gratifying.
The change of pace every season is very evident in nature. During the summer the forest is alive with the many sounds of all of the critters that make the outdoors their home. However, when late fall rolls around and turns into winter those many sounds are no longer present. One thing that fills this vacancy is the wonderful calls of the black capped chickadee. There is a cheery, soulful and haunting quality of their calls. They are one of the few birds that are active during the winter so you will be able to hear all of their various calls. They are by far my favorite bird and when I am walking through the woods during the winter just hearing them brings me back to growing up on the farm. I love it when there is one calling to another one from far away. The whistling calls back and forth give me a feeling of warmth.
Putting my boat away for the winter is also change of pace that I do not look forward to. When you spend as much time using a piece of equipment or tool you become accustomed to being in that environment and take comfort in that. For me I usually wait until well after most others have put their boats away before I make the call. There can be some fabulous fishing during November and December, but there can be days where being on the water can truly be a grind. You have to have the right mindset to be out during these days. Thoughts of reading a book next to the fire are a welcome respite from these days.
On the home front my wife welcomes my change of pace when it comes to the kitchen. For those of you that do not know I love cooking and I feel that my wife sometimes “sabotages” her prep to a meal just to have me take over. I find it rather charming and flatering at the same time. During the summer I tend to cook more on the grill or over the fire pit just so I do not heat the kitchen up too much and make the house uncomfortable. When it gets colder I tend to cook with my Dutch ovens much more and the meals are especially hearty. For trips during the fall we tend to do more stews or hearty meals that really take any edge off from being out in the cold. You should never underestimate how a warm meal will change the overall mood of everyone during a late fall day.
My change of pace will find me catching up on the many things that I never seemed to have time to do during the summer. Most of the time I didn’t want to waste daylight being inside, but now with the shorter days I don’t feel so bad. Find your change of pace during this winter, but most importantly enjoy your time in the outdoors this winter.