I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!
For one thing, the colorful leaves are stupendous. But it is not just their colors. I love what they represent: the beauty inherent in change, the excitement of moving on, the importance of preparing for a new beginning. By their very presence, the colors say slow down and notice the beautiful details that erupt unexpectedly around us. They suggest that we, too, should slow down and give into the change that is inevitable every year. We need to move on, no matter what is holding us back. Although cold and snow are on the way, spring is not too far behind. Enjoy this moment of transition and abundance.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, autumn is the perfect time to start reflecting on the year thus far and cataloging what all there is to be grateful for.
Here are some of the things on my gratitude list:
The cooler weather is such a great time of year. What is better than needing to snuggle under an extra blanket? And taking walks in the cool brisk air?
I really like my Kindle. I was not sure I would, but it is convenient, helpful, and easy to use. It gives me the feel of reading a real book as I flip the pages. And I can even watch an occasional Star Trek or X-Files episode at night when I want to unwind.
I am happier in my work over the last six months, and that is letting me take more time off to just do simple things like bake brownies and take treks into Nature and sleep in a bit on nice cool mornings. Naps are good too.
Dad is generally healthy and definitely aware and alert, so I get to build new memories with him on every visit—and I am able to visit weekly. I made him trick or treat for some of the Halloween candy that he loves!
Christmas is just around the corner—and I love, love, love Christmas! I am even planning a Christmas Open House, taking it on the road to be closer to my dad, so he can attend. Soon I will be pulling out the decorations and ornaments, thankful for all the memories they hold—and the hope of the season!
But I am not crazy about shopping and crowds and wasting time standing in lines. So I will just avoid the malls and order any gifts I am going to give online. One of the good things about technology being so intimately integrated into our lives is that I can avoid hassle and congestion. And the gifts I will give are the ones I WANT to give, not the oh-I-probably-should-give-something-because-everyone-else-is-this-time-of-year gifts. Realizing that the gifts are not the season is something else to be thankful for.
I am developing a relaxation and reflection routine that will help keep me calm, aware, and appreciative. Of course, this enhanced outlook reminds me that it is okay to move away from situations and people that bring frustration, stress and negativity into my life.
I always tend to read for escape—murder mysteries mostly. And I enjoy that. But I am also making time for reading “better” books, like Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Making that time in my schedule means I have been successful slowing down, not rushing around and overbooking my time. Taking care of myself this way is a good thing. I appreciate the balance and spirituality that are more conscious elements of my life these days.
Chocolate. How can chocolate not be on my list? It is luscious and healthy—just read what those doctor’s reports say about dark chocolate. And this time of year, as part of the holiday celebration, I buy some good German Chocolates as well as the truffles and chocolate pecan clusters that Mom always loved. And hot chocolate in the cooler weather is just perfection.
My list is incomplete, but the list itself does not really matter. It is the act of appreciation, of gratitude that matters. Being appreciative puts things into perspective, helps show what is really important—and those reminders say the great big world is wonderful, but it is the little things, the relationships, the time with people that matter. Enjoy life. Do not take yourself so seriously. Take responsibility for what you do, but remember that you can say no to things and people that bring you down. And remember to laugh—a good chuckle works wonders. And enjoy the beautiful colors that make the world so glorious in these cool autumn days.
In conclusion, I am sharing a comment on autumn and appreciation from an old Calvin & Hobbes (1995):
What is your take on this time of year? What are you thinking about lately? What are you grateful for? Me, I am adding apple pie—warm with some ice cream on top—to my list! Why is it that Hobbes is always right?
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“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot
“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.” P. D. James
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” Jim Bishop
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.” Faith Baldwin
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” Lauren DeStefano
“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” Lee Maynard
“I was drinking in the surroundings: air so crisp you could snap it with your fingers and greens in every lush shade imaginable offset by autumnal flashes of red and yellow.” Wendy Delsol