autumn musings

I look forward to fall – that transitional season between the long hot days of summer and the short cold winter days ahead.

The cooler temperatures invite long sleeves and blazers. While no longer T-shirt weather, early fall is not quite cold enough for sweaters and heavy coats. It’s a time to go through the closets and flip through the catalogs.

I definitely get that back-to-school feeling in September. As a teacher, preparations for lessons and meeting new students never gets old. I still love shopping for new supplies – notepads, pens and colored post-it notes.

September, October and November bring an end to my garden. Some years, I’ve been lucky enough to harvest the last green tomatoes in early November. Like a fun treasure hunt, I store the green tomatoes in paper lunch bags on the kitchen counter and peek in each day to see which ones have ripened. After the garden clean-up, I write down the hits and misses in my garden journal. I make notes of which plants to add next season and which varieties to skip.

Fall is the time to put that garden bounty to good use in cooking hearty soups and pasta dishes. At the grocery store, my shopping cart starts to fill with packages of pecans and walnuts, pancake fixings and maple syrup.

In the fall, I look forward to fresh picked Empire apples and apple cider donuts after a hike. We have so many wonderful parks and nature trails in Westchester.
Fall is my favorite time to get outside and smell the fresh air and hear the crunch of leaves under my hiking boots. I remind myself to observe the changing colors while walking and driving each day. The vibrant reds, yellows and oranges are a treat from Mother Nature. Actually, the whole season is a feast for our five senses!

Only in autumn are my taste buds attuned to all things pumpkin. Pumpkin muffins, donuts, lattes and loaf cakes seem to be everywhere! Adding an actual pumpkin to my front doorstep is another sign of fall.
Colorful Halloween decorations and candy in miniature sizes festoon the store shelves at this time of year. Trick or treating, parades and costume parties can certainly be fun.

Like the scurrying chipmunks and squirrels stuffing their cheek pouches with acorns to hide for the long winter, humans seem to be in more of a rush during the fall, too. We are hurrying to prepare for the upcoming holidays as well as trying to make the most of our outdoor exercise and activity time during the shortening daylight hours.

As we head into fall, I am inspired to start baking. On Sunday afternoons I like to bake brownies or breakfast cakes to enjoy during the week. The aroma of fresh baked goodies is better than any candle!
Autumn street fairs and book fairs give us the chance to choose decorative items to brighten our homes during the darker days ahead. I like to stock up on books to read in preparation for the cooler days and nights indoors. I always feel better with two or three new books waiting on my night stand.

When I pull up into the driveway, emerge from my car and smell that first wood-burning smoke from a neighbor’s fireplace, I know autumn is here. Welcome!

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