When I lived in the Southwest, I could tell autumn was approaching when the light in the sky began to change.
The seasonal shift was always subtle but unmistakable as the sun began its journey from summer to fall, replacing long, warm days with increasingly shorter and cooler days. For desert dwellers, this is one of the first visual cues to the inevitable shift in seasons. But anyone who has observed this transformation in the outside light knows that it is easy to identify but difficult to describe.
Imagine my delight, then, when I relocated to the Northwest and discovered a whole new way to experience the change in seasons. The desert offers many natural wonders, but while I lived there, I never had the chance to watch squirrels gather nuts for the winter or marvel at the sight of wave after wave of noisy geese flying in formation to warmer climes. And there is absolutely no comparison between the Evergreen state and southern Nevada when it comes to fall foliage.
Even though I've lived in Washington for almost 20 years, I never fail to be amazed by the brilliant display of red, orange, and yellow as Mother Nature paints the summer landscape with a stunning palette of autumn hues.
Now that the leaves are beginning to turn, this is a perfect time to share the wonders of the seasons with little ones. The library has a fine selection of picture books and easy nonfiction that focus on nature's transformation from summer to autumn. "Autumn Leaves" in particular is a good place to start because the author uses full-color photographs to present a striking myriad of leaves "dressed" in their finest fall adornment. In addition, many of the individual leaf photographs are accompanied by a picture of the tree from which they actually grow.
The book offers a fun, visually appealing way to read about autumn foliage without feeling like a school lesson, yet there is plenty to be learned by both child and parent.
Perhaps checking out a book about autumn will inspire you and your family to get up close and personal with the surrounding foliage. A leisurely drive within Clark County to look for changing colors could make for an entertaining day trip.
And with the help of this week's book, young and old alike can have fun playing a version of "I Spy" with the Northwest's bounty of colorful leaves.
Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.