In many regions of North America, the landscape silently explodes with vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange. For weeks, summer has slowly been slipping away. There are so many reasons to love fall. The weather is changing, leaves are turning colors, and it tends to give off a sense of anticipation for things to come. School starts, and the holidays are just around the corner. This year, the first day of fall will take place on Monday, September 23, for those living in the Northern Hemisphere. To get a little more technical, the autumnal equinox, which marks the official start, will take place at 3:50 a.m. on Monday. The autumnal equinox affects the earth and humans in many ways.
A Reduced Amount of Daylight
One of the most notable effects as the autumnal equinox passes is the reduced amount of daylight. Some people suffer from the seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, due to the decreased amount of sunlight in the day. People tend to stay indoors more and may be less active as the colder weather of autumn and winter arrives.
Animals Begin to Store Their Food
With the approach of the autumnal equinox, you’ll see squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals start to collect food and store it away to prepare for the winter months. Animals that hibernate start to put on more weight at this time of year so they can survive through the cold months.
Trees and Plants Begin to Change
The colorful autumn leaves will soon drop off, leaving many trees dormant until springtime. Plants go dormant but survive on the nutrients stored in their roots and stem over the previous spring and summer. Temperature, light, and water supply have an influence on the degree and the duration of fall color. In response to the changes to temperature and daylight, leaves stop producing green-tinted chlorophyll, which allows them to capture sunlight and make energy. Because chlorophyll is sensitive to the cold, certain weather conditions like early frosts will turn off production more quickly. Meanwhile, orange and yellow pigments called carotenoids — also found in orange carrots — shine through the leaves’ washed out green. The red color in some leaves comes from anthocyanins, which, unlike carotenoids, are only produced in the fall, according to the State University of New York College of Environment.
Insects Migrate or Hibernate
A perfect example of an insect that migrates is the monarch butterfly. The shorter days, lack of sunlight and colder temperatures prompt these butterflies to travel to mountains in Mexico. Alternatively, some insects hibernate in response to the autumnal equinox. Giant wasps retire to the attics of homes to crawl beneath logs to keep warm throughout the winter. Honeybees hibernate in their hives over the winter.
Fall, whether you like it or not, is all about change. The season is changing. The weather (in most places) is changing. Change is all around us, and it’s intoxicating. The holiday season officially starts with the coming of fall. Once those first fall decorations go up, your shop won’t look the same until after New Year’s. And, that’s the way we like it!
Melissa Jones is an experienced mass-market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the industry.