WHY IS IT that the times we love the most are the times that take forever to get here, and are then gone in the blink of an eye?

Take for instance my annual trip to North Dakota; the 29th time this year. Or take the opening day of fishing season, any hunting season that is your favorite or the start of the Major League baseball season; you name it. You wait and then boom, it’s gone.

Now that my Dakota trip for the year is history and it did go by in the blink of an eye, my next big day to look forward to is the opening day of deer season, Nov. 20. I wait, plan and wait some more until finally the day gets here.

Then in nine short days, or in my case six of the last seven years, the season is over two hours or less into it with my tag on a buck. Then what do you do?

If you are a little kid like me, you start planning, uncrating and lining up all your lighted outdoor decorations for Christmas. Yep, when it comes to Christmas, especially Christmas lights, I am a little kid and proud to be one.

So far this fall, I have added three new displays to my arsenal of lighted decorations. My goal is to someday surpass Clark Griswold for the most ever in one yard and on one house.

Speaking of fall though, why is it that the best season of the year always takes forever to get here and then is gone before you get halfway through the things you want to do with it?

Along with duck hunting, my dogs and lovely wife and I have gotten in a fair share of walks through the color of the north Wisconsin forest in September and October.

Next thing you know, there will be snow falling, temperatures on the minus side and a sheet of ice on our lakes. I look forward to those things as well, but winter can drag on too long to suit me, while the same goes for hot summers. Except for turkey hunting, the opening day of fishing season and first green leaves popping out on trees, I could skip spring altogether.

But fall, that’s a different story. Instead of two good months, how about maybe half a year of it? I’ll vote for any politician who will guarantee that change.

Among my favorite fall things to do is to take simple walks through the woods. Last Sunday, my wife and I settled for a short but beautiful walk around the Big Muskellunge campground with Molly, the wonder Golden, and Gordie, the court jester Lab.

It was an autumn afternoon that you would draw up as a first option in your playbook. There was lots of sun, a stiff breeze blowing through the pines, dogs sniffing everything (you can imagine a dog sniffing) and all with the beauty of fall surrounding you. It doesn’t get any better.

I haven’t heated with wood for 20 years, but though it was usually a hard, hot, sweaty job during my 50 years cutting or helping to cut pickup loads of mostly oak and maple, there was nothing more pleasurable than doing that task.

Deer scouting trips and partridge hunting treks through the woods were just as much about finding a treasure trove of dead, seasoned hardwood as it was bringing home supper.

There are few more fulfilling things in life than cutting, splitting and stacking enough cords of wood to carry through a long winter heating season, and though my aging body says thank you for getting rid of the wood stove, I do miss those days of wood gathering.

Even now — though I don’t burn wood anymore — each time I’m wandering through the woods along an old logging road, whenever I see a downed, bare-barked oak along the way I get the urge to go get my chain saw and get to work. Fortunately, that urge goes away quickly when my back spasms up or my knee, the one with almost no cartilage in it, starts creaking.

Bad back, knees or bad anything, however, will never get in the way of my love of the outdoors in fall. No season can touch fall for all its goodness.

It won’t be long and fall will take on a different look. The forest of late October through November is far different than the fall of late September through mid-October.

Soon there will be stark, bare branches stretching to the sky; leafless save for some oak species which carry their russet leaves as a coat all the way through late winter.

Things you couldn’t see from a hilltop when a rolling landscape of dense green closed off coveted views in summer will now be seen once again. A small lake, blue water sparkling under a late fall sun or roiling gray as a ghost on a cloudy, cold windy afternoon will now hold you in its’ arms for as long as you want to sit on a stump and watch it.

Deer trails open to view will look like small highways through the woods where they were nearly invisible during summer’s lush months. Stars blocked by dense stands of leaf-covered trees will now shine down in full view on an October night.

Truly, the autumn months are now upon us and too soon to be gone, make for the most wonderous, special time of the year.

I’m just glad to be here drinking it all in.