The Last Weekend of Summer

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, fall begins in the Northeast with the autumnal equinox on September 22nd at 10:29 PM EST. So we technically have one last weekend of the summer. The weather has already started turning cooler and the kids are back in school, but we can still claim a summer state of mind.

I know it’s hard – I find myself barraged on a daily basis with Halloween candy, Christmas layaway programs, and pumpkin spice lattes. I love the holidays more than a lot of people (my dad calls me a Christmas Nut), but this year I am resisting the push. Getting caught up in the mad rush just leaves me harried and exhausted on January 2nd, wondering what just happened.

I have decided no fall decorations until October – that leaves 2 full months to fully enjoy the season. It also means that any mums I eventually buy won’t have to try and hold on for an extended period of time. While I will still slowly work on all of the Christmas projects that I began over the summer (in an attempt not to be stressed in December), I will wait to fully embrace Christmas until Black Friday.

I am hoping this holding back approach will translate to other areas – a calmer approach to fall house cleaning and more time spent outdoors enjoying the crisp air. I’m also looking forward to its effect on my writing. I have so much that I want to accomplish – new novels to write, other work to revise, blog posts to write, contests to enter, and agents to get. Because I never have as much time as I would like, I sometimes feel paralyzed with what to do in the limited time that I have.

So I will take it one item at a time. This week I’m going to tackle the planning for my novel, and spend time with my son this weekend writing a picture book story we’ve been talking about. Maybe we’ll write it outside – and take lots to deep breaths to remind ourselves of what we loved about summer, and then open our hearts to autumn.

summer into autumn

Hanging On To Autumn

Here in the Northeast U.S., we are fully enrobed in autumn. The leaves have switched their warm green summer clothes for cool sweaters of yellow, brown, orange, and red (yes, I like to think of the leaves wearing sweaters, like I am). When taking my morning run or walking my son to the bus, I am taken with how truly beautiful the trees look. Mother Nature puts on quite a show.

There is a crispness that comes with autumn: leaves crunching under your feet; the crunch of a firm, ripe apple; the pop and slide noise a knife makes as you carve your jack-o-lantern. There is plenty yet to do outside. We just need to wear coats and hats.

As we play outside or take a walk, I yearn to hold on to this in-between time. It is no longer the warm, long days of summer. And winter has not yet arrived. Yes, my husband is mourning now that the pool is closed and it is dark soon after he gets home from work. This is all the more reason to hang on to every precious moment of this transition time. Soon, we will be inside, cozy in front of the woodstove and under blankets. Going outside will take more than just throwing on a jacket and a pair of shoes.

Don’t get me wrong. I like many parts of winter too. I especially enjoy reconnecting with family and friends over the holidays. But I am in no rush.

While spring is a time of renewal and rebirth, autumn is a time for me of pause and introspection. Where am I at? Did I get where I wanted to be this year? Or am I on a completely different path? What else do I want to accomplish this year? What do I want to make sure not to miss?

The bustle of day to day life seems to pick up as soon as September begins. Just look at the stores: school supplies are displayed in July, Halloween costumes are up in September, and some of my stores even have Christmas decorations on the shelves already (By the way, isn’t Thanksgiving in their somewhere? Sigh. Another topic for another post.) If you take all of the school and extra-curricular activities, and add in this pressure to rush towards the next big thing, you could feel overwhelmed. Panicked. Even stressed.

But Mother Nature has a built-in de-stressor. Go outside. Look to the trees and the sky. Take a deep breath. Listen to the wind. Feel the sun on your face. Watch your children jump in the leaves, or play flashlight tag at twilight. It’s very hard to stay stressed when you are open to the wonder.

What are your favorite things to do or experience in autumn? Please share.