Autumn is the slow decline of the year toward the winter, a slow lingering death from the height of summer into the cold and dark. Yet autumn is far from miserable. I love the unexpected warm days. I love the colours of the season and the wind and rain feels quite energetic and powerful. It has always felt like a season of portents and omens, birds are flocking, deer are rutting, autumnal colour is everywhere.
So how do we write what autumn feels like?
Autumn is nothing if not atmospheric. Countless horror movies are set at this time of year, no better demonstrated than it the cold and imposing forests of The Blair Witch Project and The Village. These are films that use Autumn atmosphere to maximum effect. It is the perfect time of year because death is a constant reminder. It is getting colder and darker; leaves are falling from the trees. There is a chill in the air overnight, frost on the ground in the morning, mist and fog in the air. Dry, dead leaves crunch beneath your feet and clouds appear when you breathe out. There is still a lingering warmth but always a constant reminder of the cold to come.
It is also the season of Halloween and in the Commonwealth, Bonfire Night. Those five days between the end of October and the beginning of November is, for me, the beginning of the build up to the Christmas season. People actually begin to enjoy the colder weather and the darker evenings as it reminds of the what is to come.
Autumn: Life and death
Autumn smells of frost. Yes, I do think frost has a smell and I do not find it unpleasant. It is a dry, sharp, prickly smell that you can experience first thing in the morning, within the first hour of sunrise. It is also the smell of fruit waiting to be picked or that which turned rotten before falling off the trees/bushes/shrubs.
Autumn smells of woodfire, bonfires and the gunpowder of firework displays.
Despite the slow descent towards a seeming death, there is still much life in the old year yet. Before they all drop off of the trees, leaves turn dazzling colours of ambers, reds and yellows creating images like this.
The English countryside is famous for this sort of scene throughout the autumn. It is also the season of fruitpicking: apples, pears and to any child… blackberries! These are not just colourful but a reminder of the pinnacle of the livelihood of the season at the end of the year.
Also think about the sort of clothing that people might wear at this time of year. Scarves, woolies, larger coats, sweaters. For men, jackets more often than not. For women, the fashion seems to be in boots a lot more, cardigans. People are wrapping up warm but not wrapped up so tightly just yet.
And don’t forget the flocking birds.
Autumn is noticeable for the absence of birdsong mostly and with leaves dropping off, you won’t hear wind rustling through the trees for very long.
What are the autumn sounds? Whistling wind, roaring wind, heavier rain. For those of us living in the countryside it is a season of shrieking foxes, of the calling of deer for the rutting season. Small mammals such as badgers and squirrels scramble through the undergrowth during the darker evenings and overnight.
Give a serious think to the sort of foods that will be available at this time of year and how personal preferences might change.
Aside from autumn fruits, it is associated with heavier or more filling foods. I tend to drink more coffee in the autumn and winter and more tea in the spring and summer. My beer tastes also change. I prefer something a bit more full-bodied at this time of year, ruby ales, Newcastle Brown, darker and heavier beers as opposed to spring and summer where I prefer golden ales and sometimes lager. I also tend to drink more red wine at this time of year and prefer them full-bodied. It is also the season of mulled wine – though I don’t tend to want to drink this until Christmas lights start making an appearance.
Most mornings, everything outside is damp with dew. Goosebumps raise on bare arms. Feet crunch on and swish through piles of dead leaves. On the really cold days, feet crunch on frozen earth. Also, on those warm days think about how the sun feels on your skin. It is a very different feeling to that in spring or summer.
So over to you, what signifies the autumn for you? How do you identify the arrival of this season?
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18 Oct Falling for the Colors of Autumn: Photo Essay
Posted at 09:34h in Nature & Outdoors by Simon14 Comments
Moving to a tropical island? No thanks. To me, the tropics are good for a few days but if I enjoy the climate and the vibe for a little while, I soon long to leave.
Indeed, I like the seasons, the way nature changes, offering different colours and smells. Every yearly cycle looks like a miracle happening again and again, a symbol of the life sprouting, blossoming, growing, fading and then dying.
Each season has its charm, and I like them all, although I’m a little partial to spring and autumn. After the winter, seeing the first blossoms gives me an immediate feeling of joy.
Fall arises a sense of melancholy as I look at the bright colors of autumn like a last explosion of warmth before the arrival of the cold and the snow.
There’s no place like the mountains to savor the colors of autumn, hiking in the woods, walking on the dead leaves covering the path, enjoying the last rays of sunshine, shedding their awesome oblique light on the surrounding nature.
I have wonderful memories of autumn in Courmayeur, overlooking the majestic Mont Blanc, in the Dolomites, in Switzerland.
But albeit beautiful, I dream of seeing foliage in the United States, where the colors of autumn have an intensity which I’m not sure exists in Europe.
How do you like the colors of autumn? Which is your favorite season?
More reading: Evolène, Charming Old Houses and Traditional Swiss Life
Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing SImon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.