I never really understood the fascination with fall until I lived in Nebraska for two years. You see, as a native Floridian, fall to me was just a break from the unbearable heat and humidity. Leaves don’t change color and the grasses and marshes stay green until winter. But in Nebraska, especially my second year there after I had adopted my dog, I began to understand what makes fall so special. The air becomes crisp, sweaters become the norm and when you walk outside, you hear the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet. There is this calm energy that happens, where everyone knows that this is the cherry on the cake because soon everything will be blanketed in snow.
This year, fall may feel different. With covid and the elections, it is easy to become distracted and not take full advantage of the bounty of this season. To help you enjoy and celebrate this gorgeous time of year, here a few ideas to make you fall back in love with autumn.
- Make a hearty homemade soup. My favorite soup is a chucky potato soup. I first started making this soup when I lived in Nebraska and I never make it the same way twice. I start off with vegetable broth and I add cut up potato, celery, onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, parsley, dash of cayenne, black pepper, a bay leaf or two. This is my base soup and sometimes I leave it at that. But… if I have kale or spinach, I will toss some in at the end. If I have mushrooms in the fridge, I will add them. As long as you use traditional fall vegetables, it will come out great. You can even get creative and add butternut squash, parsnips or yams. Yummy and delicious!
- Take a walk in the woods. The color of the leaves is enough to put you in the spirit of autumn but if you need a little boost, make it a gratitude walk. As you walk, notice everything. Let’s say you see a broken branch on the ground… you can then say to yourself, thank you for the life you gave to the branch. Look up to the sky and say thank you for the cornflower blue that adds a beautiful contrast to the orange, brown and yellow leaves. It may seem silly at first but keep doing this with everything you see and you will feel a shift of energy and your mood will be lighter. Doing a gratitude walk is a way to truly appreciate the scenery around you.
- Since you are already outside, you can take some of nature’s gifts and bring them home. Dried leaves and twigs make great centerpieces and other home décor. Need some inspiration? Here is a good article of crafts you can make with Fall Leaves.
- Go camping! Yes, I know… there is a pandemic that is happening right now but camping is one of those trips that can be done with social distancing. And… camping does not have to be in a tent! Rent an RV or a converted bus or van and take a few days and go out in nature. With kids back in school, fall travel is usually the slower time of year to travel. A few days away can be that little something you need to help lift your spirits and reconnect to your true and authentic self.
- Many of us become a little more patient in fall. If you are like that and have thought about fermenting foods, this just may be the time to start this new hobby. Check out Sandorkraut’s Wild Fermentation website for recipes and idea. I own one of his books and I have made ginger beer, tempeh, kombucha, sourdough and sauerkraut over the years. His advice and recommendations are spot on.
- Or, if fermentation isn’t your thing, make some homemade hot cider with mulling spices. Not only does cider taste great but the aroma in your house will welcome in fall. If this doesn’t get you in a cozy warm mood, I don’t know what will! Maybe…
- Light candles with warm scents. There is just something about the glow of a candle. Though I normally avoid ones with vanilla because I will start craving sweets, there are so many scents that evoke the season. From bakery scents of cinnamon and spice to woodsy scents like spruce, sandalwood and bonfire.
- Speaking about bonfires… if you have a yard, this is a great time to light up a fire pit. Hang out with your family and roast your dinner over the fire one night. This can be a fun event and make your evening a real treat. Of course, after your meal, you will need to make the campfire staple of some s’mores.
- Fall, is the worst time of year for retail. It’s in-between back to school shopping and not quite the time for holiday shopping… however, this is how you can benefit. Most stores will have fall sales which often beat the prices of that are offered year-round, including during the holiday shopping season. So, check out some Fall Sales (we even have one going on at Nature Reflections) and get holiday shopping done early while you are in that relaxed fall state of mind.
- Take it easy. Fall is the time to hibernate and relax. It is OK to just cuddle up on the couch and read a good book, watch some old movies and talk to your friends on the phone. This is a time to reconnect with ourselves. We know busy months are coming up and we’ve probably already did a bunch of cleaning and clearing out of our closets during the spring. Now… it is time for you. Time to rest. Time to do the things that bring you joy, whether it be knitting, painting, cooking, baking, creating or the joy of doing nothing… absolutely nothing. It is completely up to you. And if you want some validation on why it is good to do nothing, here are some quotes for reassurance.
About the author: Theresa Touhey is a writer, artist, designer, meme maker, hydroponic gardener, grandmother to two active grandsons and the owner of Nature Reflections. She loves nature and is often hanging out with her rescue Havanese.