Autumn has arrived. The heat of summer has given way to an altogether more mellow climate. Like spring, autumn heralds a turn in the year, a handing over from the long, temperate days of summer to winter evenings that wrap us in cosy darkness.
I like autumn and all the changes it brings. What I’ve learned over the years though is that it does take a little thought and preparation for me to ease into this new season. Here’s how I get ready.
Wrap up so I can get out
The new season begins on the autumn equinox, which generally falls around the 22nd or 23rd September in the UK. One day it’s summer, the next it’s autumn. The British weather, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to pin down. I may wake up to blue skies but that doesn’t guarantee a day that’s dry enough for washing on the line. It does make for some vibrant rainbows across the fields though.
I guard against the chance of being caught out by the weather by re-assessing my wardrobe at this time of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fashionista. It’s more a case of:
- Are these shoes waterproof if it rains?
- Will I get too hot in this coat, whether it rains or not?
- How many layers can I fit under this jacket before I can’t move my arms?
Things like that.
I have a dog to walk, and I hate to spend the whole day at my home desk. So it’s important that I get out of the house a couple of times each day, even if it’s raining.
Get the garden ready
I’ll leave the gardening advice to the experts. They can explain that side of things much better than I ever could. Having said that, I know enough to maintain a garden that suits my family and gives me joy.
When autumn arrives, here’s what I tick off my to-do list:
- I harvest the last of the herbs that can be salvaged and freeze them. This year’s garden herb harvest included sage, rosemary, lemon balm, basil, and thyme. Then I trim back all the herbs, including the lavender, so they can save as much energy as possible during the colder months.
- I bring in the house plants that have spent summer on the table in the garden. The first frost is probably months away, but I don’t want them to be blown away by the stronger autumn winds.
- I take photos of the all the flower beds. No, this isn’t to safeguard against thieves. Instead, it’s a chance to record which plants are where and what condition they’re in. I change things around each year and that means experimenting a little. Fingers crossed, most of the plants will survive the colder months but if not, I’ll know what perished come the spring.
- Finally, it’s time to tidy up the garden. Get rid of dead leaves. Take any rubbish to the tip. Secure the dog’s football. Move planters if they’re likely to get blown over. Shelter tender plants. Put covers on the table and barbecue. Store errant tools in the shed.
Look for the colour
Rainier days can discourage people from spending time outdoors and appreciating what’s out there. At this time of year, there is still so much colour to see. From the reds of the berries, the oranges of the dying leaves, the final vibrant flowers, and the sunny shower rainbows, the world is still alive with colour.
When I venture out with my dog, I make an effort to notice all of that colour and even take a few photos.
Embrace the magic
One of the biggest autumn celebrations is of course Hallowe’en or Samhain. For me, that day is all about remembering loved ones who have passed. Hands up, I do keep a stock of sweets for trick or treaters but now that my ‘kids’ are grown-up, I don’t feel that I have to buy into the costumes and pumpkin slaughtering shenanigans.
Having said that, I do embrace the magic of Hallowe’en and enjoy the spooky tales that are everywhere in the run-up and on the day too. Hallowe’en provides an excellent excuse to read scary books and watch terrifying films, especially those of the ghostly variety.
Look back, celebrate, and start again
Autumn begins roughly three quarters of the way into the year, but it always feels like a beginning to me. Maybe it’s because that’s when the school and university years begin. Or it could be because I’m a child of change and always have been. I use that beginning as a chance to:
- look back at what I’ve accomplished over the year and what could have gone better
- celebrate the wins and learn from the fails
- re-assess where I want to head from here
- put together a new plan
- set off again
Autumn is my gateway to the next six months.
The days are drawing in as autumn beckons us towards the end of the year. Before the raucous festive celebrations begin, autumn offers us a quieter, cosier few weeks that are perfect for preparation, self-care, and plenty of reading. Enjoy.