This weekend is the official beginning of autumn for me. It’s the weekend of Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana of which the start happens to land on the third Saturday of September annually. Over the years, it has become my official ‘starting pistol’ for the fall season… those days I covet with every heartbeat having desiderated over them long before the advent. I’m a late October baby so perhaps that accounts for my adoration of the harvest moon and all things surrounding that time period. I even panegyrize the word ‘autumn’. Somehow, it sounds infinitely more pleasing as it rolls off the tongue over and above the annunciation of all other seasons… and as a younger person I’d always dreamed any female child I would deliver should bear the name of my most highly prized time of year.
The morning dew is always heavy with a crisp chill in the air which bellows ‘apple season’ and all the pleasures ushered in right along with it… pumpkins, orange-blossomed bittersweet, sunflowers, gourds, apple cider, a starburst of colors in the leaves, ham & beans over a campfire, thoughts of making chili, comfort foods and all things apple and pumpkin.
The turnover of season becomes evident as I’m usually wrapping up the remainder of any canning from summer tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and I’m tasked with cleaning up most of the garden’s vegetable remnants as the plants are bearing their last produce. Sadly, berry season has halted. The volume of cicadas, crickets and tree frogs has been turned down as if just an old radio dial. The illumination of fireflies has disappeared and hummingbirds have departed. Ice cream stands cease to welcome us to their windows and the echo of the ice cream truck’s speaker sounding through neighborhoods has beckoned us for the last time.
In contrast, the A/C gets turned off and the windows are opened to the rush of cool autumn breezes. We drive with windows down inviting the wind to make its way through our hair and upon our faces. Fireplaces are welcomed with dancing flames and crackles as marshmallows are roasted to ooey-gooey for the ever appealing s’mores reminiscent of childhood. For me, the smells of burning leaves and campfires are intoxicating… the aromas hang in the air and I breathe them in deeply as though my last breath. The warm fleece-lined fabrics and sweatshirts call us by name and we find ourselves snuggled into them by evening and calories don’t seem to matter as much when yearning for a caramel apple to satisfy a sweet tooth. A mug of coffee fully enveloped by one’s hands on a brisk morning is invigorating to the soul.
Ahhh, the change of season.
When one season hands off the baton to the next, I’m ever reminded of a treasured quote I pull from the archives of my memory. I easily retrieve it because it speaks to the zest inscribed on my life’s motto of collecting memories and experiencing life to the fullest. I wring the moments so tightly; every last bit of joy drips out stockpiled for recollection at will. Photographs are archived in a coffee table book for later reflection or to share with others. After all, ‘true joy’ is impossible to experience without being shared. Think on that one for more than a moment!
Now to the quote from Henry David Thoreau…
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
As much as I love to write, it’s but a mere wish I could pen one of those amazing quotes which just happen to perfectly express such wisdom coupled with the passion from which it is born.
Another one I delight in is from Nathaniel Hawthorne…
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
That quote takes me back to childhood when my Dad would boot me and my sister out of the house on a Saturday morning when all we wanted to do was remain indoors to watch cartoons. I don’t recall his exact words but the message was clearly about getting outdoors in the sunshine to play and absorbing some good ‘ole Vitamin D. I’m so grateful he did because to this day I am an outdoors enthusiast. I’m not certain when I acquired the ardor for outdoor life, however receiving those boots outdoors surely played a part.
What’s the take-away today? I hope you’ve read this and it spurs you to get outdoors and revel in this colorful season. Do something you might not ordinarily do…
Go on a picnic to savor the magical moments of autumn.
Catch an early morning sunrise through the mist and fog.
If you live in the Midwest, take a drive hunting down a cool old barn or a covered bridge – then take photos to capture the beauty that is autumn.
Find an orchard and pick your own apples for home-made applesauce or apple pie. Go to the local pumpkin patch and track down the best jack-o-lantern wanna-be’s. Have a family pumpkin carving night complete with chili.
Get friends together and make soup outdoors then eat it as you steep yourselves in life’s conversations. A fabulous ham & bean, a chunky vegetable or comforting chowder are amazing when relished outdoors.
When the leaves start to fall, take a stroll and collect a brilliant color sampling just for the experience of slowing life down enough to digest the beauty.
Whatever you do, take time out to be allured by autumn’s artistry. See the fireworks finale’s in the trees, find the oil paintings in the mirrored reflections of autumn’s leaves in the water. Allow the aromas to apprehend you… bringing stillness to your tracks. Get entangled in the fullest flavors of fall.
Find the gold in Autumn’s pocket!