Falling into Autumn

Autumn: A Time of Purpose

Autumn is my favorite season. The vibrant colors of orange, yellow, rust, and gold permeate the landscape. The tantalizing smells of spices, like cinnamon, excite the olfactory nerves. There is a certain type of crispness to the air. As the hot, lazy days of summer slowly fade away, the brisk temperature co-exists, in contrast, with the brightness of the sun.

As a child, autumn indicated that this was the time to buckle down in school. The first month of school was a time to rekindle friendships and review the previous year’s lessons. In my child’s mind, the change of the weather seemed to coincide with the arrival of new, exciting material to learn. I would breathe in the cool morning air on my walk to school, carefully navigating through the piles of leaves gathering on the sidewalk underneath study trees. This brief walk would help to gather my thoughts as I prepared for my school day. I would arrive at school, focused.

As an adult, autumn is still a time a great focus for me. As my children settle into their school life, my life transitions with the season as well. During the summer, my clothing style ranges anywhere from completely relaxed to business casual. With the arrival of fall, I dress more professional – as the situation indicates – and my summertime ponytail transitions into a more polished hair style. Summer is a time for fun and play. Autumn is the time for achievement and accomplishment. It is my time to address uncompleted tasks and to put plans into motion.

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In our human history, autumn is the time of harvest; a time to reap what has been sown. For most cultures, the time of harvest meant hard work, usually heavy physical activity, as people began preparation for the long winter. After working long hours in the fields, the evening hours were often spent canning and pickling vegetables. Grains were ground into flour for making flatbreads or pastries; grasses were bundled for storage to feed animals throughout the winter. In addition, this was a time to begin fermentation process to produce alcoholic beverages. Ingredients like hops, dandelions, potatoes, and grapes were carefully chosen for their ‘elixir’ properties. Though we now think of alcohol primarily as a beverage for consumption, which has been the primary use throughout history, it was also used as an astringent to treat wounds and disease.  

I don’t really harvest any of my food products. I just pop in my car and run to the store for my necessities. I still believe it is ingrained in me, though, as a member of the human race to sense that autumn is the time for productivity and purpose. I am compelled to set new goals and make strides to achieve them. I know that the winter holidays are quickly approaching; late-November and December become a blur of social activity, which includes gift shopping and festivities. For the next few months, I will just ride the wave of purpose and intent, accomplishing tasks and reaching for goals. I will put my nose to the grindstone and work hard. I will also take time enjoy the colors and smells of this season of harvest by taking daily walks, navigating through fallen leaves on the sidewalk, as I breathe in the cool, brisk air.   

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