Simple Ways to Embrace the Change of Season this Fall
Driving to the studio this morning, I laughed out loud at this new sign the hardware store next door put up on their marquee over the weekend. Of all the seasonal changes every calendar year brings, fall is the one that always hits me with the most emotion. Distracted by all the new beginnings and shuffling schedules, the leaves always seem to turn all at once, and I wake up one day and find myself wrapped in a sweater I haven’t worn for a year, swirling in a flurry of memories and crackling leaves.
Partly it’s because we live in Indiana, where the mild seasons are short oases marooned between long seasons of sweaty humidity and ice rain (the weather people prefer the more festive term “wintry mix”). It’s also partly because the anniversary of my mom’s death is September 28, and the smell of leaves and feel of cooler air on my skin bring back memories of the last weeks I spent with her. But I think it has always been true, no matter where I lived, that autumn carries with it a signal to remember, to take stock, to get cozy and shore oneself up for the winter ahead.
So this year I decided to make an effort to ride the waves of seasonal nostalgia and longing with more intention. Here are some of the ways I’m embracing fall this year. I hope they’ll give you ideas for ways you can savor this in-between time of pumpkin-spiced everything and make the most of the seasonal sentiments it stirs up.
1. Let your memories connect you with people you care about.
Who do you think of when you see the morning light shining gold through the maples or sycamores in your neighborhood? Who appears in your memories of carving pumpkins, picking apples, raking leaves? When your senses bring people to mind who you haven’t seen or talked to in a while, grab a pen and dash off a quick note to them. It will help you feel grounded and will almost definitely give them a lift too.
2. Enjoy a cup of something warm.It’s time to switch from iced to hot, so take your time and savor the heat as you hold it in your hands and slowly sip. I’ve been reading about how our senses communicate with our nervous systems, and holding something warm and sipping it can calm you down in a real, physiological way!
3. Capture the season through creativity.Drawing outside is my absolute favorite way to embrace any season, and fall is perfect for it. The fleeting colors and shapes of trees dropping leaves, the flowers going to seed, the wider views as foliage gives way to bare branches. If drawing or painting isn’t your thing, you could collect leaves and make rubbings (a great activity to do with kids, but you don’t need a preschooler to give you an excuse!). If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with wild areas you can pick from, you could gather a few branches or leaves to decorate your dinner table tonight. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy, just a little way to bring the fall colors into your home and your day.
4. Cook and eat outside while you still can.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the beauty of eating out in the open. If it’s too cold for mosquitoes but not so cold you’ll need your full down parkas, why not haul your crew out for one last al fresco repast while the getting is good?
5. Make s’mores!
Nobody wants to sit around hot coals when it’s hot and humid but when the air gets crisp, what better way to celebrate than to bust out the Stay-Puffs and graham crackers. To really capture the end-of-summer, early-fall vibes, our printer Lauren had the idea to put some fresh berries in her s’mores and we all thought it was delicious.
As with hot coals, so goes heating the oven up - the brownies just don’t sit as well when you’re sweating. So now that it’s cooling off, it’s time to roll up our long sleeves and fill the house with cozy smells of browning carbs and spices. Just hold the duct tape!
6. Bake something decadent.