And harvest fields, its mystic splendour rests
March 1st. The farewell of summer, preparation of shorter days and the deterioration of our summer tans. It has begun. But is it all truly that bad? With a strong presence of summer still lingering, we begin to draft new daily routines, find new hobbies and start the search of fulfilling substitutes to just about everything you’ve been doing the last three months. But that’s what autumn represents; the importance and beauty in letting things go.
Mornings seem to lose the magic of motivation when our alarms ring before the sun is awake, before the birds have chosen their song and our bodies have begun to sense a natural habit of hibernation. This however is the same time (if not earlier) when farmers are at work harvesting their crops to put food in our local stores, market stalls and café tables. March is the first month of swapping lunchtime salads to daily hot pots and fresh bread. Light dinner meals down by the beach are no longer enticing due to the suns earlier curfew and the thought of a hearty meal brings warmth to our bones. Eating food doesn’t just serve us with the purpose of fuel and energy to live, food provides large quantities of comfort, pleasure and sincerity. No matter how old I will always miss my mother every time I bake roast vegetables, slow cook a ham hock soup or make fresh custard on the stove for dessert. How beautiful it is to purchase, prepare and consume foods that obtain the ability of creating nostalgic moments. We say goodbye to our cravings for the beloved Açaí bowl for toasted sourdough with homemade jam. Croissants make their way back into our thoughts and make the perfect partner to our morning coffee ritual, because who wouldn’t want the buttery goodness of a ‘pain au chocolat’ between the sips of a long black.
Local grocers, veggie stalls and farmers markets have pumpkins in abundance and are sweeter than ever proving some seriously nurturing benefits of Vitamin A, helping boost immunity to fight off the infections that lurk in our homes and houses. Making all the more reason to spend time over the stove stirring and spicing a hearty pumpkin soup. Avocados may seem like they never leave our bags and baskets but now in their prime season, prices become alluring. Filled with benevolence for us hungry humans and loaded with potassium; these ripe babies are the ultimate fibre friend for good digestion. It’s always fun watching the avocado stand be poked and prodded by shoppers all in search of the same thing … the perfectly soft avo. Stewed apples with cinnamon or just a 3pm snack, the sweetness and crunch of in-season apples are second to none. Pair that with (what I call) sunset celery – Rhubarb – spiced and encased with flaky pastry topped with fresh thick cream for a crowd-pleasing dessert. Rhubarb is that underrated vegetable that doesn’t get enough credit as the deep green leaves are quite dangerous to our stomachs but the rosy red stalks are full of minerals, vitamins and organic compounds.
Pots of tea and the burning scents of cinnamon, ginger and orange become familiar to the senses and provide the same amount of love as a hug from another.
There is one thing in common amongst the crops that grow from the autumn soil, to the humans that walk atop it; the warm earthy hues. Clothing is a direct representation of the season we are entering. As warmer tones start making their way through boutiques, we begin a new harvest of the earth’s natural colour palette. We notice the change in leaves that belong to the trees that shaded us through a hot sticky summer. As they shed their layers we slowly begin to increase ours once the air becomes crisp and a little cooler and we see no need in exposing limbs in hope of heat relief. Jeans and longer shirts are pulled out from the back of the wardrobe and socks make their comeback! Perhaps I am alone in this pleasure, but the satisfaction of transitioning from bed sheet to blanket is almost weirdly indescribable. Having grown up on the south coast of Victoria I’ve never taken time in appreciating this feeling (it is a rare occasion sleeping with only a sheet). That feeling of having something hold you, wrap up your limbs whilst they lay to rest, feels like this may be the only reason for cooler nights.
Autumn sees us taking refuge within ourselves and inside our homes. The natural progression of stillness encourages reflection upon what these past sunny filled months have given us. Parts of our communities, families and friends come together for the celebration of the Autumn Equinox where the night is equal to the day in length.
We find ways to restore balance within our personal practices and ourselves and search for warmth in the cool mornings and still days. Pots of tea and the burning scents of cinnamon, ginger and orange become familiar to the senses and provide the same amount of love as a hug from another. The appetite and natural occurrence for nesting and decluttering is a wonderful way to embrace the change of season.
Rearranging furniture, parting ways with old clothes and filling vases with fresh new season flowers like the happiest cluster of miniatures you’ve ever seen; The Easter Daisy. Pushing their way through the soil and standing tall to show us their beauty as if they were made to be the sunflowers for all the whimsical fairyland ladies, growing up and over their heads, and made for us to find delight by our feet.
It proves more and more difficult finding motivation to keep active in the body and mind when the skies seem a little sad and staying in feels deeply inviting. But although this may bring fear to some in the upcoming colder months we are reminded; autumn is that beautiful place between the scorching hot and the freezing cold. Take the time to appreciate new habits, more layers, warmth and refuge. Enjoy it embrace it.
Originally published in Paradiso Issue 03