This is the polished time, the pinnacle of life. This is fall, when everything puts on its best for the world to see, and that makes it special.
The sultry heat of summer has passed, and in its place we have cool mornings when the tiny snap of winter's promise briefly touches our skin.
There is a magic quality of light and feel in the air, and those of us who enjoy the outdoors know it's time to go to camp.
In our genes, we know it's time to go to camp. It's time to be in the woods with rod and bow and gun and rediscover ourselves.
In town, it's time for the kids to be back in school, giving their mothers time to think about themselves for a while. The antlers of the deer have now been polished to a bone white at the tips and a rugged brown elsewhere. They are prime, as is their owner. It is fall.
It is the polished time. The trees, as the sap shuts down in the leaves, share their gold and reds with us and make commonplace scenes only a few weeks ago into magical tapestries of nature.
It is the time of finding a mate, of fighting for territory, of defining our lives.
It is fall. And we know we must polish ourselves a little bit right now in order to fit in.
We have to assess ourselves and ask what we can do to make our lives a little shinier, our hopes a little stronger, our promises to others more defined, more definite.
It is the time to let the fresh cool air fill our lungs and let us remember other falls, other campfires, other friends. Younger friends, as we were younger.
And as the golden leaves fall in the late autumn breezes, it will be time once again to cherish our mates and seek refuge from the winter wind.
Brought to you by the new book, "Home Country," at www.slimrandles.com. Now you can read free samples of Slim's books at www.slimrandles.com. Home Country is a weekly syndicated newspaper column written by outdoors journalist and humorist Slim Randles. Want to say "Howdy" to Slim? Contact Randles at firstname.lastname@example.org.