Autumn pleases all the senses as days turn cooler and the landscape becomes a riot of golden colors. Leaves crunch under our feet as we gather pinecones to decorate our homes and our kitchens are filled with sweet aromas of pies baking as we prepare to gather in thanks for nature’s bounty.
Autumn or fall, depending on where you live, is my favorite season. It is the time for apple picking, carving pumpkins, old quilts, cozy throws, soft flannel, fuzzy socks and relaxing by a fire with a piece of cake and a warm cup of cider or cocoa.
During fall, the light becomes softer and the sky turns a deeper shade of blue. Leaves on the trees change from vivid green to beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. As leaves begin to carpet the ground, the air turns musky and often mixes with a hint of woodsmoke from nearby chimneys.
As we transition from the long hot days of summer, life seems to slow down a little. Sandals, crisp white cottons and brightly colored summer clothes are replaced with boots, plaid flannel shirts, soft sweaters and loden green jackets that will provide just the right amount of warmth for a crisp fall day. To me, there is nothing nicer than dressing in a soft sweater and a comfortable pair of slacks or jeans and spending the day outdoors on a sunny but cool day enjoying nature.
Not only do we make a change in the clothing we wear but we often decorate the front of our homes and change the decor in rooms to reflect the change of seasons. We drape a cozy throw over our favorite armchair and add seasonal pillows, candles, dried flowers and set out bowls of apples or nuts in the rooms we gather in.
When it comes to celebrating the fall season, we give special thought to not only how we decorate our homes but the foods we prepare as well. Cool weather crops are in abundance in our markets and meals usually consist of heartier, more comforting dishes. Main course lunches are often prepared with sturdy field greens, nuts, roasted fruits and vegetables or sliced cheese, meats and pickled vegetables.
Creamed soups, chowders, and thick stews replace the light vegetable broth based soups we served in the summer.
Baked pastas, hearty casseroles and roasted meats are served as the main course for dinner.
Desserts such a pumpkin, apple and pecan pies, fresh or poached fruit and aged cheeses often grace the table.
When my husband and I lived in New Hampshire, we would host a harvest weekend. Relaxing in the warmth of our kitchen fireplace with friends after a day spent picking bushels of apples, pressing cider and making lots of apple pies, was one of our most pleasurable experiences and a time of celebration that I will always remember.
Now that we are living in Florida, we have to travel to experience fall the way we used to. Up until Covid stopped our travels, we always planned a fall trip to Europe…usually driving the back roads through different regions of Austria, Germany and France where an abundance of traditional harvest festivals took place.
It is a time when farmers have harvested their hay, grain, gardens, vineyards and orchards and firewood has been cut and stored for the long winter ahead. Locals wear their typical regional clothing and gather to enjoy parades and fairs that celebrate the annual harvest with traditional foods, music and folk dancing.
Whether walking through the woods with the sound of leaves crunching under foot as we gather pinecones and acorns, enjoying the giggles of little children on their first visit to a pumpkin patch or the laughter shared as we pick apples in an orchard with our friends, fall is a season to be relished.
Autumn is such a cozy, comforting season, especially when shared with friends and family. No matter where you live, I’m sure you have your own simple pleasures that you enjoy during the golden days of autumn. Perhaps it is finding the perfect pumpkin, making a child’s halloween costume, decorating your home in seasonal autumn decor, attending a college football game, sipping a pumpkin spice latte, eating a piece of apple strudel or a sitting down with family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy!
“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.”Victoria Erickson