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Ready For The Autumnal Equinox
Marg-Ins 9-6-23

There was a chill in the air.

That’s what I noticed the other morning as I was taking my granddaughter to the park for a little play time and getting some of her 19-month-old energy out.

I know the favorite season for many people is spring, when flowers are blooming and we have come through the winter but personally, my favorite has always been fall.

The autumnal equinox isn’t for a couple of weeks yet – autumn officially begins on Sept. 23 – but I am definitely ready.

We did get pretty lucky this summer, I feel, with only a couple of lengthy 100-plus degree day stretches. The strange thing was how we bounced around; a few times we would have three triple digit days and then plummet by 15 degrees. It reminded me of a saying we had at home when I was growing up; if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

My dad has been inundated with rainfall recently. Plus with the humidity, they have had a pretty steamy upstate NY summer. He said he had to empty out the rain gauge in front of the house almost every day; it was one of the wettest months of August on record there.

Like many, though, it is the colors of fall I enjoy the most. There was nothing better than when we would get in the car as a family on a Sunday afternoon and take a leaf tour from upstate NY over to Massachusetts and on up to Vermont. Last October, when my daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and I went back east for a visit, we were able to see the fall colors. Timing was on our side, as they were vivid when we were there.

And while we are just easing in to September, I am already looking forward to October. That is my favorite month for a number of reasons. It typically was the height of our fall season in New York, it was the season for playing soccer back when I was in high school, figuring out what I wanted to be for Halloween, working with the church youth group as a teen on our annual Haunted House and, my all-time favorite, working with the American Cancer Society for our Halloween in Howe Caverns.

I know I have shared about that in the past; Howe Caverns is a major tourist attraction not far from where I grew up and we were lucky enough to have use of the cave (updated with lights and an elevator to descend several stories underground) on Halloween night for our annual ACS fundraiser.

The walking tour in the cave itself was a mile-and-a-quarter; there was a guide that would lead each group and we had several scary scenes set up all along the way. My usual assignment was in an area that was called ‘The Winding Way’ and it was a narrow, twisting, turning passageway that on occasion opened up with a couple of grottoes (larger areas within the cave) that were perfect to hide in and then come out shrieking at the group as they passed by. I would wear a long black robe, black gloves, always had a grotesque mask and was very adept at scaring people. By the end of the roughly three-hour event window, after we had had dozens of groups come through, I didn’t have much of a voice left.

But from the witches boiling up mischief in their cauldron to the headless person roaming around, we all had a blast in our scary scenes putting on the show.

It was a unique setting, and we were able to stage the event for a number of years. Not only did it gain a reputation as one of the best in the region; a definite ‘must do’ for Halloween, it was an amazing fundraiser.

I look forward to that continued chill in the morning air. Here’s hoping we have seen the last of the triple digits, we can start to enjoy the smells and sights of fall and incredibly, get ready to head into the last few months of 2023.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.