We are well and truly into September now and it's beginning to look a lot like AUTUMN around here in Western New York! The leaves are still mostly green but signs are showing of them starting to change and a few fainthearted little fellows have already dropped off their branches to curl up amidst the frosty dew that is showing up bright and early each morning now.
I know plenty of people have posted their favorite things about fall already but I had to think about mine for a bit because it is my first real fall season back in New England, and after 6 years of blinking and autumn was over, I needed to rediscover the experience of fall coming in to mark the end of summer before I could pinpoint my favorite things about the season. Now that it seems to have arrived properly (ignoring yesterday's heat wave of 80 degrees), here are my two cents thrown in to the Fall Favorites debate:
1) Using the wood-burning stove for the first time of the year and the cozy evening it creates, snuggling close together or curling up on the floor with a good book, reading by the flickering firelight.
2) The clarity of the stars!! It's amazing how just a change in the atmosphere makes the night sky clearer and brighter. The crisp cool dry air of autumn is key for this. It's my favorite time of year for laying on the ground, looking up at the sky, and taking in the sheer enormity of the heavens and the stars. I could spend hours looking at the night sky and picking out the starry constellations.
3) The enormous flocks of birds flying overhead together, seemingly out of nowhere! It's basic science - birds fly south for the winter. But to see it happen on a regular basis for those weeks in the autumn when it's beginning to get cold, is pretty neat. All of a sudden you just hear the vague sound of geese honking, and before you know it there are dozens of them flying in 'V' formation above you, turning together in perfect unison, nudged by an unknown force in the same direction - and then they're gone as fast as they arrived, headed to warmer climes.
4) The smell of the air; fall just smells...different. You can feel the crispness of the air just by inhaling, how awesome is that? The scent of the wood stove burning a small fire to ward off the chill that comes in on the coattails of autumn, the slight bite of the cool air on my cheek, rubbing my hands together briskly to keep them warm (because it's not quite cold enough for gloves yet but they need a little help outside of pockets), smelling the fallen damp leaves on the ground, the richness of the earth. I love to be outdoors on a fall day, breathing deeply and taking in all of the wonderful scents!
5) And of course, it wouldn't be a fall loves list without tart, crisp apples; fresh apple cider and cider doughnuts; plump pumpkins - carved or baked into treats; the gorgeous hues of rusty red, goldenrod and pumpkin orange everywhere; drives through the countryside with the explosions of colour of the changing leaves overhead; hay rides; cornfields; big wooly jumpers (sweaters) and thick tights; leather jackets and cute knitted caps; Wellies; raking a maze into the leaves on the front lawn before piling them up and jumping in them; homemade stews, chilies, soups, and casseroles; Thanksgiving; indoor gatherings with friends for football matches, silly board games, and eating freshly baked breads and desserts; and of course, Thanksgiving.
Autumn is a magical time of year - and experiencing it in New England is about as authentic as it gets, folks - I'm so delighted I get to be here for the season this year!
Have I missed anything off this list that you love about the fall?? Share your seasonal favorites in the comments! :)