by Katy Lonowski
on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 7:31pm.
It’s that time of year again. The heat of summer has transitioned to the cool and crisp days of fall. The white sand of the beaches is visibly smoother and it beckons for an autumn stroll along the shore. On September 22nd, 2014, at approximately 9:30 p.m., the Alabama Gulf Coast welcomed the Autumnal Equinox. On this day each year, the sun shines directly on the Earth’s equator, heralding days that will grow shorter, the nights colder.
The yearly migration of dragonflies arrived early this year, and currently we are witnessing the influx of slowly-lilting love bugs, our slightly bothersome, yet amusing, seasonal visitors. I was delighted to see a few monarch scouts in the past week. No doubt these fluttering sojourners will be arriving next. The monarch butterflies migrate through our area on their way to Mexico each October, flying distances of over two thousand miles to the warmer southern climate, and when they do, I am always reminded of the cycle of life and how nature marches on, regardless of our human troubles or daily stresses.
The Cycle of Life
Autumn in the cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores marks yet another transition of our unique community’s “cycle of life.” This is the time when the ever-changing population of our beautiful coastal towns shifts away from busy families and summer vacationers. You see, autumn is known as “owner’s season,” as many coastal property owners who were absent for the summer while the rentals boomed now take time to escape the daily grind and enjoy their beach homes-away-from-home.
This is a tranquil time of year to visit our community, not just because of the changing sunlight, cooler temperatures, and calm sea breezes, but because the hectic pace of summer has slowed. After autumn and "owner's season," our beloved “snowbirds” will arrive. These treasured winter guests come to the Gulf Coast to flee the bitter cold of the northern states and Canada for a couple of quiet months on our little island. As we locals chatter our teeth and complain about the winter chill, these stalwart seasonal citizens consider even our coldest January days laughably temperate.
Just when the snowbirds depart for the long drive home to their families up north, the next “migration,” the Spring Breakers, descend briefly on our town, signaling the eventual return of the summer vacationers and families. And so the cycle of our community begins again, but I’ve always loved autumn on the Gulf Coast best. It’s the deep exhale following the crowds; it’s the calm respite that signals the moment when our community naturally relaxes. We become a small town again for a few months, and though we love our tourists and welcome each and every visitor, sometimes its also nice to appreciate that Orange Beach and Gulf Shores really are small towns at heart.
Fall on the Gulf Coast
Fall on the Alabama Gulf Coast is a refreshing opportunity for residents, property owners, and guests to experience that restful time at the beach that is perfect for shell hunting and mingling with the blue herons and tiny sanderlings along the surf line. On sunny days like these, with my doors and windows open wide to the sounds of waves, the sky a deeper blue and late-afternoon sunlight glistening on the water of the Gulf, I feel truly thankful that this is my home.
When you are ready to become part of our welcoming coastal community, let me know. I’d be honored to call you my neighbor.