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Chilly Nights And Indian Summer

Hillbilly Deluxe


Chilly Nights and Indian Summer

By Brian Wright a.k.a. Hillbilly Deluxe

According to Wikipedia, an “Indian Summer” is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs in autumn, in the Northern Hemisphere. It is characterized by a period of sunny, warm weather, after the leaves have turned following an onset of frost, but before the first snowfall.

In my neck of the woods, on Indian Point at Table Rock Lake, Indian Summer generally occurs in early November. There’s something primeval about this time of year that instills a sense of purpose for man and beast.

The fall season — with its chilly nights and warm, Indian Summer days — also seems to create a sense of urgency in our woods.

Just as early American Indians harvested their crops of squash and corn — and took to the fields to harvest wild game for fur and meat — this time of year triggers modern day outdoor enthusiasts to take to water and woods to enjoy their own fall harvest.

For many of us, that means hunting. Kansas and Missouri offer some of the finest hunting land in the nation. Monster bucks are in the rut, upland game birds are looking for food to sustain them through the winter, and waterfowl are moving through the area by the hundreds of thousands.

If fishing is your passion, you know that late fall will have many species of fish gorging food in preparation of the grip of winter. The lakes and rivers throughout our region are simply outstanding this time of year, especially my home lake of Table Rock.

For campers, hikers, and canoeists, the Indian Summer offers a few last days to enjoy the natural beauty of the Ozarks before winter.

No matter what your pursuit, there’s just something exciting about this time of year — right down to deciding how you will layer your wardrobe.

Personally, this is my favorite time of year. Spring comes in a close second. I must admit that when spring arrives, I always say it’s my favorite season, but in reality, at that time, I’m heavily influenced by suffering through several months of frozen ground, frozen lakes, and frozen toes.

Mid-autumn is superior. There’s nothing quite like gathering with friends and family to sip hot apple cider by the firepit. The aromatic smell of wood burning, and the cool fall air, are intoxicating — especially after spending an Indian Summer day in the outdoors.

The first few weeks of November find the forest floor covered with a patchwork of color courtesy of fallen leaves from maple, hickory, ash, and dogwood. The canopy above is highlighted by the deep colors provided by oak leaves which cling to their point of origin —refusing to fall until the bitter winter winds of December rip each petiole from its branch.

As an avid fisherman, I cherish each day I spend on the water this time of year. Early November provides the opportunity to find schooling, active, fish. Most of the fair weather fisherman have moved on to watching football, leaving the lake eerily quiet and nearly void of boats.

This is also a fantastic time to explore the lakes. I often navigate the coves and creek channels this time of year and take in the splendor of the season.

The cycle of seasons will soon bring winter, and with it, shortened hours of daylight, hibernating animals, and dormant plants.

No matter what your personal pursuits are this time of year, there is one thing for certain. You must enjoy the Indian Summer when it arrives. It won’t last long and winter will be close behind


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