Autumn has arrived in beautiful Colorado as well as the northern hemisphere and it is just gorgeous this year! Autumn is my favorite season, I must admit. I love the colors, I love the temperatures cooling down, I love the way the light slants across the sky in a softer manner that seems to make everything look new and different. When I was a child, I looked forward to the beginning of every new school year and the new clothes and shoes we would buy so I could start off the year all sparkly and new. I’m even one of those people who, to this day, loves the smell of pencils and erasers and chalk boards, pens and all kinds of paper, and even the crisp newness of notebooks. Can I make a confession to you? I still buy school supplies when they’re in the stores, on sale, because they’re less expensive then and I love wandering up and down the aisles with all those lovely school supply aromas. Autumn is my favorite season hands down!
I grew up in west Texas where we had fall, but it wasn’t the same as fall in places farther north. We got cooler, but mostly that was when we had our heavy rains and so gray, foggy days seemed to go hand in hand with the new season. I loved walking home after school and walking into my house to the aroma of soup or stew that Mother was already cooking on the stove. Those were some of my favorite moments as a child and I miss those moments now. I LIKED wearing more clothes in the fall and winter months. I loved sweaters and corduroy pants, long-sleeved dresses and coats, hats, and gloves. I was born in November and always loved that November’s flower is the chrysanthemum. I loved the colors that were used to represent fall–pumpkin, sweet potato, maroon, dark green, browns, burnished golds, and darker blues.
Autumn is the season for Halloween and I recall my favorite Halloween costume as a child. I believe I was in the second grade and I decided to dress up as a gypsy. Mother made me a long, full skirt made of a fall-colored paisley print. I adored that skirt and wore it all the time, even when it wasn’t Halloween. I liked going trick or treating, but my favorite part was coming home and all of my friends and I dividing and sharing the spoils of our evening.
My favorite holiday of all is Thanksgiving and not because of the largely mythical stories of the pilgrims and the Indians having a big feast together after the harvest. I love Thanksgiving because, to me, it represents a time for family to get together for no other reason than to share a good meal and quality time together. I have grand memories of all the women working in my mother’s kitchen preparing the big feast for the day. I loved the food too, don’t get me wrong, but I loved even more being in the midst of the women, hearing the latest news about what was happening in the family, the joking around, the camaraderie and the love. I think I love preparing the Thanksgiving meal now because even though it is harder to gather family together for it, the recipes and preparations remind me of those days when there was a big crowd to prepare and eat the meal. Making cornbread dressing reminds me of my sister Judy, who was the official dressing maker. Making pecan and cherry pies reminds me of Mother and her explaining each step to me. I loved putting the chicken and dressing together into the oven and the aromas that arose as it cooked. (Mother never baked a turkey. She thought they were too greasy.)
As you can tell, I’m on a nostalgia trip this morning! 🙂 Now, as I’m older, I’m realizing I need to institute some new traditions in our family so someday my grandchildren will have such ardent memories as I do of my childhood Thanksgivings.
Last week, my husband and I took our annual trip into the mountains to see the beautiful trees and leaves around Colorado. As we did so, I was filled with joy and peace that I just don’t experience throughout the rest of the year. My husband loves it when it snows. I love it when it cools and the trees turn into a riot of lovely colors. I get this almost uncontrollable urge to cook soups and stews, turkeys and dressing. I even get this weird urge to draw and cut out leaves and pumpkins and turkeys from construction paper and tape them to the front window. Instead, I’m crocheting and knitting shawls from autumnal colors. That works too… What is your favorite part of autumn? Were there special rituals and traditions your family participated in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know!
Peace and love, today and always,