Is it just me or does the run up to Christmas seemed to have started even earlier this year? It was mid-September when I saw the first Christmas books released and Christmas gifts appearing in the shops. It’s as if the world’s forgotten there’s a whole season in between. A season that’s particularly lovely and with a lot more to it than Halloween (or Samhain if you prefer the old names). These are some of my things about autumn. I’d love to hear yours.
Something happens to the light in autumn that I find fascinating but extremely hard to describe. With the bright glare of summer’s sunshine gone, autumn light has a more reflective quality, a softness or (to borrow from Keats) a mellowness. Whatever it is that makes the light so special at this time of the year, and I suspect it’s something quite complex which involves more physics than I understand, on a lovely autumn afternoon it’s as if everything is bathed in liquid gold.
Imagine a walk through a wood where the leaves are gold, amber, chestnut and auburn above your head. There are piles of leaves on the ground, perfect for scrunching through or jumping in. There’s the hint of frost in the air and your breath hangs like smoke in the air. That’s the kind of perfect autumn walk I’m thinking of. And ideally (because all good walks should end at cafes) it’d finish with hot mugs of tea to warm your hands and cake to replenish the calories you’ve just burned off.
The autumn equinox in late September is when the day and night are in perfect balance. It’s a time to seek our own balance and maybe change things which won’t work for us now that summer has gone. I always find myself a little more reflective at this time of year as if I need to sit a while and come to terms with what’s been and prepare for what’s to come.
For anyone who’s spent as many years in education as I have, both as a student and as a teacher, autumn always feels like the time of new starts. And whereas January resolutions tend to be made in a reaction to December’s excesses, a new start in autumn, fuelled by the stored energy from summer, always seems more authentic to me. Even if I’m not embarking a new course, this time of the year always finds me dusting off my pencil case and ready for a new start of one kind or another.
Being red-haired and fair skinned, summer can be a bit of a trial for me. Never venturing out without sunscreen, a bottle of water and a hat can get a bit exhausting. The return of autumn makes life so much easier and I’m always happy to see my jumpers again, put my boots on and get out my opaque tights.
These are my favourite things about autumn. What are yours? I’d love to hear from you.
All of the gorgeous pictures in this post are from unsplash.com, Check it out, it’s amazing!
5 thoughts on “Celebrating autumn”
Gorgeous post, Alys. I’ve said, for many years, that I loathe autumn and love spring, but you’ve reminded me of how much I used to love the season when I was a little girl at primary school.
The crunchy leaves, collecting conkers, the smell of chimney smoke, the crisp air and, for people in our area, the thrill of Hull Fair – the largest travelling fair in Europe. Or so we were told. I’ve never checked out the claim.
Tomorrow night is the last night of the fair, so it really does feel like autumn here. I love the idea of this season as the real New Year. It makes sense, and we can sweep away our old selves with the fallen leaves.
Maybe I’ll stop seeing autumn as a drab season to be borne and start remembering all the things I once loved about it. Thanks for the reminder xx
Really glad I’ve helped you remember why you used to love autumn. We’ve had a lot of dank, rainy autumns over recent years and it’s pretty hard to love those so I can understand why you’ve got used to just getting through it. Hope you get to enjoy some autumn colour, crunchy leaves and smell of wood smoke on crisp air this year.
This! All of this! Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. Especially the light: it is amazing for photographs. I love the smell of dead leaves, and the sound they make when they skitter along a sidewalk. I love the scent of woodsmoke in the air, and the mornings so crisp they’re like biting into a juicy apple. I love how frisky the dogs get on their morning walks, and the plumes of vapor that come out of the horse’s nose. Pumpkin pie. Sweaters. The ‘good’ boots. All of it. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mckenna. It sounds like you have perfect autumns where you are. I’m very jealous of those crisp autumn mornings you describe. They sound wonderful. Hope you have a great autumn this year!