Ode to fall
Turning leaves. Balding trees. Lashings of rain. Impending darkness. Howling wind. Chills in the air.
It’s enough to make a girl want to pull on her Regency gown and trample through the muddy fields, á la Lizzie Bennett. What do to mean, she didn’t trek over to Netherfield in the fall? I’ll insert my own personal romantic feelings about seasons and associated literary characters wherever I damn well please.
Anyway, yes, fall is fully upon us. Fall break has come and gone, Halloween is nigh, and it’s been decorative gourd season (mother…..) for a while now. It’s beautiful weather here in The Hague, and so I’ve been cycling around the city mornings and evenings surrounded by golden light, rapidly fading and all the more beautiful for it.
There’s much to be said for fall. Sweater weather means we can finally switch out the summer wardrobe, which has grown too-familiar,for old, comfy favorites. Knit dresses ahoy! Recent playlists on Spotify shift from beachy, laid-back tunes to moody, atmospheric tunes (Adele’s new album is being released *just* in time!). We can break out the candles again, scour the shops for new teas to love, and stock up on mini marshmallows to drunk in rich, dark, hot chocolate. Out with food truck festivals, bubbly and oysters, and pretending you enjoy sand in places where sand should never be found! In with pumpkin spice lattes, slow cooked apple butter, and cozy evenings with good wine and great friends. Sure, it’s swapping one bougie pastime/predilection for another, but without shaking things up every once in a while we become too rooted – and too bored.
But there’s more to be said for fall. More than the decorative gourds, the spiced drinks, and the unspoken permission to gain a couple of pounds (who can tell under those knit dresses, anyway!?). Fall is a pause for breath, a comma in the sentence that is the year, a moment to gather one’s thoughts as we plummet from sunny socializing to dreary drudgery. Spring and summer have us looking outward, going outside, exploring and discovering, but fall starts to drive us inside, where there is less physical space, but more opportunity to be still, be with oneself, and to reflect. That is, of course, unless you choose to drive the introspection away with Netflix and podcasts. Not that I’d know anything about that. (*cough cough*) But where summer can make one feel some serious FOMO (are all my friends out? will the weather stay this nice? will I have missed the most beautiful if I choose to have a lie in today? should I go drink al fresco AGAIN even though I’d really like to watch some Great British Bake Off?), fall allows a more laid-back approach to life (sure, I can go out and enjoy this beautiful day for an hour, but then I can go home, light some candles, make some soup, and feel productive in the process; if it’s raining, even better! All that’s needed is a blanket, a good album, an engrossing new book).
Fall is also the season where we stop feeling entitled to beautiful days and start appreciating them for just happening to us again. Gone are the “Dutch summer, eh?” critiques; all hail the “No trains again? Must be three leaves on the tracks!” jokes. We’re still close enough to summer to look forward to, rather than be stressed out by, the holidays, and the deep, dark doldrums of winter (I see you, February!) are far enough removed to feel not quite real yet.
Sadly, true, fun fall is all too fleeting. So this weekend, whether you’re celebrating Halloween or not, don’t forget to spend a little bit of mindful time with fall: dig up your squishiest socks, break out the autumnal movies (Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic are all-time favorites in my household), mull some cider, and breathe in that chill, damp essence of fall.