I used to be so invigorated by this time of year, but as I get older I find that the shift of the seasons leave my sensitive soul feeling rocked - jolted out of place and that my spirits take a dip as the weather cools and the days darken. I want to reclaim my love of Fall, pumpkin pie, and the changing leaves. Any advice on how I embrace this fleeting season?
What you are feeling is real. A few years ago, I attended a weekend “Winter Blues” tour of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, standing in a crowd of people - all ages - in sunglasses and scarves looking for those last leaves of Autumn and the silvery-white plants that live all winter. At one point, the licensed psychotherapist guiding the walk pointed out the golden wheat, and rustled her hand through it - creating a crunching whoosh. I was humbled remembering the Sunday mornings of earlier years, when I stood on long brunch lines with friends, craving harvest-frittatas and blood-orange mimosas, before I sought out tours to let in even just a sliver more light.
I am responding to you, now, by my living room window - where the surrounding brownstones already feel like they are obscuring too much of the sun. I also have my seasonal light machine providing an extra glow which I plug in each October and unplug in May. I am drinking warming teas and honey shipped straight to me in Brooklyn from the fields of Portland, Oregon. After so much invigoration - New Year, the start of school, second chances, there is a natural coming down that happens in October; I know now to prepare for it, to stock up on the things that provide comfort, to go slow, to be extra kind to myself. It is hard.
Your sensitivity to the change of light and cooling air is deeply human; the fleetingness of October is palpable. What can you do during this time of year that nourishes yourself? That reconnects you to what you once loved about this time of year? To engage the senses — a cup of warm cider at a nearby cafe, a walk through the crunching leaves, a good book that you can hold in your hands? Whatever it is, embrace this sadness as okay. (And, of course, if the mood takes more than a dip and you think it is helpful to talk to someone, then listen to that voice too).
My four-year-old daughter is named for this magical season. When she fills her small pockets with acorns I am filled with the type of joy that I imagine reserved for some world to come. And, yet, the season is divided into these two halves: the colors, fullness of the early Fall, and then a barrenness, a reminder of the impermanence of everything.
Dan and I just returned from a week with the kids in Philadelphia, visiting family and friends, taking in two weddings and the Fall foliage.
On the walk home from school, yesterday, Autumn said to me,
“Mom the thing is when we’re in Brooklyn, I miss vacation, but when we’re on vacation, I miss Brooklyn.”
That is the thing, I told her, and gave her hand an extra squeeze.
It is the thing, Nostalgic. I am sending you a hug as I rustle my hand through the golden wheat.