It's wonderful to live in a four-season locale, where life and habits and activities change throughout the year. Winter, spring, summer and fall. Each has its own strong, defined personality. Well, all except fall which, in my view, tends to get forgotten.
Winter. The brilliance of fresh snow in a field or mountain. Fresh clean air. Inside, the warmth of a wood fire, the aroma of beef stew, braised meats, long simmering sauces and bread. Hearty red wines. But winter can be harsh. Even those who favor the season and its activities have to deal with the everyday cold, snow and ice that makes getting around difficult, if not impossible. We're forced to wear many layers of clothing, hiding our best outfits. Our hair gets stuffed and mussed under hats. There's the stress of the holidays to deal with and so much that has to get done in a limited number of daylight hours. We spend a lot of time counting the days until it's over.
Spring follows winter, bringing renewed life, blossoms, the shedding of an outer layer of clothing and longer days. Snug-fitting hats aren't necessary and good hair days abound, something to enjoy before the summer humidity sets in. How our spirits soar in the spring. We're grateful for it, thankful it's arrived and just plain happy.
Summer follows the glory of spring, bringing warmer, longer days, lighter clothing, lots of outdoor days, the beach, picnics, barbecues, friends and vacation time. Farmers' markets have the best offerings of the year and meals are simple and fresh. Life doesn't get much easier than summer. We cling to each day like a precious gift and don't let go easily.
Poor autumn, stuck between summer and winter. It doesn't seem to get its due. We spend half the season mourning the end of summer and the rest dreading the approaching dark cold days of winter. What is keeping us from enjoying fall? The summer heat is gone, the air is brisk (we're back to good hair days), and the colors of fall foliage explode right before our eyes.
Maybe we're missing the spontaneity of summer. Even as adults we unconsciously adopt a "back-to-school" mentality, with work and life kicking up a bit after Labor Day, not to mention those with children for whom back-to-school is a reality. Life becomes more structured. We stop leaving work early on Friday, take our workouts back to the gym and start spending more time indoors.
Stop. Just stop. Stop mourning the end of summer. Stop dreading the start of winter. It's still a few months away. Be in the moment. Be in autumn. Be happy about it!
Autumn/fall has a lot more to offer than just two names:
- The air is cooler and you can shut off the air conditioner, open the windows and take your favorite cashmere sweaters and scarves out of the trunk.
- Allergy season is winding down. Your head will soon clear and your eyes will stop itching.
- Low humidity is the best thing for your hair and there is no reason to squash it under a hat. Now is the perfect time to try a new haircut!
- You don't have to take your workouts inside yet. This is perfect hiking weather. Don't forget your camera to capture the glorious colors Mother Nature has sent us.
- Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year, especially here in Greenwich Village. Parties, costumes, good times and no list of presents you have to buy beforehand. Just relax and enjoy.
- If you live, like I do, in a popular tourist destination, most of the visitors have gone back home by now. Until the end of November when they begin the trek anew, we have our city back. It's easier to get dinner reservations and theater tickets, the museums aren't so packed full and the parks are just ours to enjoy again. And don't forget the NYC Marathon in Central Park!
Summer is over. Winter is still far on the horizon. Don't stress about it. Fall is here. Be in it and enjoy it. Three months is a long time to waste.
For more about making your life a bit easier, finding time to nurture your soul and keeping stress at a distance, visit my blog at http://www.bedcamp.wordpress.com.