The weather is starting to take a decided turn here in New England. Since I’m pretty famous for griping about the impending winter (really, for a native Yankee, I ought to just quit my bitching), I decided to try to look at things a bit more positively. Here, then, are ten things that I really, genuinely like about autumn in New England.
1. It smells good. Really; you wouldn’t think so, but there’s something about the combination of cool air, wood smoke, and rotting leaves that makes one want to inhale deeply. Add to that the yummy smells of autumn food, and fall around here becomes an olfactory delight.
2. It’s pretty. My little corner of the world becomes a riot of color during this time of year, and the leaves are just beginning to change in some places (which I almost like more than the full-blown color that will come in a couple of weeks. I think that the single, crazy-red tree standing arrogantly amidst all the green is more dramatic than a forest full of color).
3. There’s a lot of great stuff to do. My town’s apple harvest festival happens next Saturday, there are hayrides and apple-picking trips to take, and there’s football to watch.
There are also chores to do, but somehow, they seem less cumbersome in the fall than they do in the heat of summer. Mr. Chili doesn’t seem to mind raking and mowing as much in October as he does in July. Besides, the girls love jumping in leaf piles.
4. The nights are made for cuddling. In the summer time, we close our windows during the day but open them at night. In fall, we switch that. It can get downright cold at night starting at the end of September, and the nip in the air invites us to get closer together than we do in the sticky heat of summer. Evenings will often find the Chili family watching t.v., Punkin’ on Daddy’s lap and Beanie in mine. I love that. I also love having to turn the Puck’s heat on in the morning, but being able to open the windows in the afternoon. (sometimes, I open the windows AND turn the heat on!)
5. The yummy, cuddly sweaters come out of storage. This weekend will likely be the Great, Twice-Yearly, Chili Family Clothes Switch, when all the shorts and tank tops go in the bins and all the sweaters and cords come out. It always feels a little like Christmas during the clothes switch; I find that I forget what treasures have been stored away in the attic for the season and am always delighted to reconnect with a favorite sweater or pair of fuzzy socks.
6. The food. There are certain dishes that I ONLY cook at certain times of the year and, while I absolutely have my favorites among all of the seasons, I think that autumn contains the highest percentage of winner recipes. Since it’s cool, I don’t mind running the oven and the stove, so roast beef and chickens, stews and pot pies, and huge vats of spaghetti sauce are regularly cooking away in my kitchen. My crock pot comes out and yummy delights are simmered within all Sunday afternoon. I’m also fond of real, homemade apple sauce – if there’s one thing we have in abundance here in autumn, it’s apples - and I find that fall is the time that I start baking in earnest; quick breads, brownies, crisps and cakes are regularly available in my autumn kitchen.
7. The slower schedule. For all that we may complain about school and work, I think that they really are calming influences in our lives. While I love the free-range feeling of summer, I find that I have a harder time keeping track of time – appointments, lunch dates, meetings – when I don’t have the constant of a work and school schedule grounding me. We may have less time to sit around and do nothing in the autumn months, but I find that I have less stress because I feel I’m more on top of my time in the fall.
8. The t.v. shows come back. While this isn’t a HUGE part of my autumn life, I do find that, since it gets darker much eariler, Mr. Chili and I tend to wind down sooner in the autumn than we do in the spring and summer. I’m looking forward to the return of some of my favorite shows.
9. Holidays. For all that they can be stressful (and, MAN! have they been stressful the last few years!) I really do like the traditions and the consistency and the fellowship of the holidays. I also really love the food, but that’s a post for another time.
10. I like the passing of time. I think that Mr. Chili’s right; if we moved someplace that didn’t have distinct seasons, I’d miss them (though I respond to that by saying that I should at least be allowed to try!). The feeling of the Universe plodding along through its rhythms is comforting and reassuring: everything is unfolding exactly as it should without any intervention from me.
Happy Tuesday, Everyone!