The onset of fall in Minnesota can stimulate bipolar feelings in the most stable of persons. The beauty of an autumnal forest is tempered by the recognition that a deep cold will soon follow. While fall feeds the visual cortex, it is also the season that deprives the thalamus of the rewards experienced during long summer days. Gradual reductions in daylight correlate with real metabolic change.
A dichotomous time of year, autumn is a period of arousal for some and senescence to others. Plants drop their leaves to minimize energetic losses, while some animals purge their bodies of surplus fats acquired during the summer months. In contrast to the hibernators that sleep, deer are immersed in a reproductive frenzy. In Minnesota, November is the time for “love.” Male deer suddenly become uninhibited, trading caution for lust. With a blatant disregard for “the way” that has ensured survival, bombastic males now flaunt their enormity and ignore predatory vehicles and humans lurking about. Trading wariness and modesty for outrage and aggression, bucks risk short-term survival for the opportunity to live “forever.” Here, immortality exists through the transmission of genetic information. Risk takers that live long enough to reproduce, are like an eternal flame that never blows out.; and so it goes for this beloved mammal that some love to see and others hope to kill… yet one more dichotomy for this challenging time of year.
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