Autumn's tang already permeates the early-season apple, not to mention the air across much of the United States. This week the calendar reaffirms the annual change of season: summer discreetly slips into fall.

In the woods the trails undulate with hikers: A new age of outdoor enthusiasts enjoys the hills that have welcomed generations before them.

At home the firewood is being gathered, the rakes and storm windows are at the ready - except in those warm-weather regions where snow exists only on television and in Christmas cards.

The rahs of that robin-of-fall, the football game, have already been heard. Soon to come is the season's brilliance, that dappling of leaves even now working its way south. Can the delightful aroma of mulling cider be far behind?

Fall, the annual interregnum between summer relaxation and winter coziness, leads in the cycle of seasons to spring.

Each season has its own special glory, similar every year yet never identical. Fall reminds us again to appreciate the delights of the present, even while anticipating the joys ahead.

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