Autumn has it reputation. Despite its fleeting beauty, it is a harbinger of darker times. Leaves die and fall to the ground. Animals hibernate. And in my part of the country, we know that we must brace for months of cold. Thus, as a defense against the gathering melancholia, fall may indeed be the best time to reflect upon your blessings.
I’ll start with that, despite what appears to be a locked in cycle of clouds/rain/drizzle/downpour and days lost to getting my mother’s house ready for market, Brian and I have managed 7 different hikes on our town’s extensive selection of walking trails. Maybe you are familiar with the in vogue practice of forest bathing which extols the patently obvious premise that being among the trees is good for your spirit. I can validate that that there are few greater feelings than time spent on a trail. It is fine exercise. The air is fresh. It is beautiful – both in the small detail (insane variety of colorful mushrooms this year) and in the vista. My hiking buddy and I can converse, but we are just as happy to walk in companionable silence, eyes down to plan the next step over rock or root.
Autumn and cooking: another great partnership. Not that I don’t love the summer bounty of fresh produce, but there is just something about making soup and roasting things and baking things that cheers me up. We are hosting a merry band of vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores (and a small picky eater) for Thanksgiving this year and I could not be more excited about the challenge. I have been auditioning some plant-based versions of classics and the results are good! A food holiday with those we love best – it doesn’t get much better.
Maybe it’s just a build-up to winter, but autumn lends itself to comfort activities such as the aforementioned baking. But also reading, tea-drinking, needlepoint and more reading. I am averaging a book every 4-5 days and dread the day I am going to have to set one aside to shovel snow.
Hiking, cooking, reading – solid blessings for the season. And, surprise – there is another blessing timed for this fall. Lo and behold, Lo is going to be a big sister! She is very excited about “Mommy’s baby,” a sentiment that may to change when #2 makes her appearance. But, how happy for all of us to have in our lives the wonder that is another unique expression of DNA and the absolute antidote to darker days.