Autumn Rituals with February
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir said so. And we say autumn is a fine time for walking. We are then unburdened by the swelter of summer, unburied in the layers required to keep us cozy in winter. Don’t mistake us – we’re super fans of all the seasons, as each has its charms. Yet autumn beckons us out beneath kaleidoscope canopies of changing leaves, invites us to feel them crisp underfoot.
It should go without saying that walking is an intentional activity; it’s hard to imagine heading out for a stroll by accident. Yet what starts with intent can assume a wonderful momentum all its own. Our feet and legs seem to move of their own accord; experience and creativity are given free rein to wander. And we may find ourselves “going in,” as Muir describes.
We see in this sentiment a recipe for savouring not just autumn but all the seasons. Let it begin with a joyous intent. We like to surround ourselves with the finery of fall – its tastes, touches, sights and smells. Here we are, producers of an autumn pageant, that will unfold upon our season’s stage. We control the props, the scene and setting, the characters - all of it. We’re setting the stage for something spectacular.
If all this sounds a bit daunting, take heart. It’s the process we are after, just as much as the product. Embark on this journey as you might set out upon a sunset stroll - lighthearted yet open to the extraordinary. Some care and creativity on the front end will pay delicious dividends throughout the season.
We’re just riffing here, but an autumn-themed centrepiece as an anchor in various rooms is a great start. Fall is harvest time, so really make those spaces bloom. Why should the winter holidays hoard all the decorations? Place those pumpkins, array apples, sprinkle that candy corn, and kindle those candles. Conquer one room at a time with a custom cornucopia of autumn delights. When we’ve returned from a long day of work, the serene and scented autumn setting will be ready-made for us to fall into. Now the scene and setting of self-care are in place, we can play our parts in this delightful drama. Rituals are key here. They can be created from whole cloth, and/or passed down generations like a precious family heirloom. If you have a partner, why not make a pact that each will set the stage for when the other returns home from work or errands?
There’s something special about being greeted by the smell of apple cider on the stove, and the aroma of warm tea in a favourite mug. And of course, scented candles are a simple and easy way to embrace the senses upon walking through the door. The outside world falls away, and we are immersed in the story we have loosely scripted for ourselves and those close to us.
Those flying solo can tweak this ritual a bit. Kindle a candle before heading out to work or on an errand - douse the flame on your way out the door. You might find some semblance of the scent lingering when you return, a delightful welcome and reminder to savour the season. This trick and treat are great when employed just before an autumn stroll. Our sense of smell is washed by the cool, crisp air and exercise of a walk, our noses keen for sharp scents of sweet and spice that pair so well with the season.
Here’s hoping you go all in for autumn!