What images come to mind when you think of autumn? Green leaves turning to golden yellow, burnt orange, vivid red. Excitement in the air as you move with the crowd, winding your way to the Saturday afternoon collegiate football game. Walking on a cool, crisp evening by the lake in a light windbreaker jacket.
A season of visible change — hours of daylight are decreasing. Thoughts drift to the fact that winter is not far away. For children, and in triggered memory for adults, it’s the new school year. Vacations are over. We are back to school, back to work.
Try experiencing autumn anew this year, in a very mindful way. Engage your senses. Notice the yellows, reds and oranges of the tree leaves. Watch the precision of the flying long-necked geese, in their perfect V-formation, honking loudly along the way. Stop to glance at the children in the school playground, running laughing, playing with their friends. Note the cloudy days when the raindrops turn into little ice crystals. And note the first evening when goosebumps pop up on your forearms. That extra soft blanket feels so good for sleeping. It is so obvious now that the shadows of the trees lengthen. You see more shadows everywhere.
Hear the humming of harvesting machines in the fields along the country roads. Farmers are picking the field corn and harvesting soybeans in their combines. Locusts buzz loudly — no missing their presence in the city and farms alike.
Smell the apple butter cooking on the stove. The cinnamon and nutmeg in the pumpkin pie make your mouth water in anticipation of autumn gastronomical delights. Not far away is the special aroma of the 16-lb. turkey roasting, soon to be a family feast for a special holiday meal.
Bite into a crisp golden delicious or red apple, with a crunch on each bite. How good is the seasonal acorn squash right now, accented with brown sugar and a touch of butter. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Outside, your cotton, long-sleeved shirt feels good on your arms. It’s time to bring out your long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, jackets. Sandals and shorts are gone until next year.
Pay attention to the crisp, cool air that signifies this season and is so invigorating. It’s a great time to take deep breaths, fill your lungs with refreshing, clean air. Your feel alive. You are in the moment, enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of autumn.
Use all your senses and enjoy!
(Updated from an article I wrote for the Heartwood Center for Body Mind Spirit newsletter, with great input from my mother, reflecting on what she likes about the autumn season)