“I’ve seen a lot of seasons change in my life. It’s been a very lucky life.” – Tom Brokaw
Friday, as you probably know, was the first day of fall. I find this to be the favorite season of so many people. I also find myself asking why. Even my class of four and five year old students began cheering last week, when I explained the change of season coming. When I said, “Fall starts on Friday,” they responded by cheering and clapping. When asked why, one replied, “I like bounce houses.” I still don’t know what that has to do with fall, but I assume they associate fall with festivals. That was my best guess at least! It made me think of how wonderful it is to be their age and have no real reason for being so excited for something, to be genuinely excited about something so simple! The best season for me will always be summer, but I’ve come to accept fall. You could say we have a bit of a love/hate relationship! Don’t get me wrong, I do love fall clothes, boots, scarves, and festivals; however, I tend to feel a little bit disappointed, as if it is a let down. The summer comes to a halt. The vacations end. The cookouts come to a close. Beach time is done, until next year. The relaxed, summer feeling, suddenly disappears, although luckily where I live, we’ll have warm weather for a while longer! This year I find myself asking, “How can I make this season different, a more meaningful fall season?”
Eyes of a Child
As I mentioned, my students’ response and excitement last week, when discussing the change of season, really struck a cord in me. I paused for a moment, as they cheered. I took a minute, before quieting them down, beginning to think about why they had such a quick and joyful reaction. At the same time, why didn’t I have the same reaction they did? I remember thinking something like, “What is the big deal?”
When asked more in-depth about what they like about fall, children always mention things like: playing in the leaves, playing outside, Trick-or-Treating, Halloween, and sometimes the weather (depending on where you live). At what point in our lives do you we lose this childlike excitement? I’ve thought about it. I can’t really come up with a valid answer. I supposed it’s different for everyone. I don’t remember ever loving fall that much, since I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed summer my entire life. I do remember getting excited for raking and jumping in leaves, going to festivals, and Halloween. I think the older we get, the easier it is to focus on lists, rather than moments. Children think of it as a new time of fun things to come and all the things they might get to do. I think for me, each week during the season, I will try to find something new or a possibility to look forward to, as the weeks tick by so quickly. I’ve written an article in the past about trying not to wish the days away to get through the week, “living for the weekend”. I hope to try the same approach as we enter into this fresh new season.
Living in Central Virginia means most of our leaves are still green, and the weather has been very hot. Although it has not felt one bit like fall, as we get further and further into the season, our scenery too will change. I must say, I do love how pretty everything looks when the leaves have changed, usually a chill in the air by that time. Something about walking in boots with the leaves crunching under your feet is a relaxing sound. There’s no doubt fall is one of the prettiest times of the year, in many places of the country.
Speaking of scenery, one recommendation I have during the month of October is to take a long weekend getaway, just three or four days. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been for a long weekend in October was the Finger Lakes in New York. I stayed at The Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua. The exterior is gorgeous, equipped with Adirondack chairs right on the lake. I happened to be there during the most beautiful weekend in October, when the weather was warmer than usual, and the leaves had all changed colors. The accommodations were wonderful, and the restaurant at the inn was delicious, still one of the best steaks I remember eating. We found plenty to do to keep busy, including touring a mansion, visiting a winery, going to Watkins Glen State Park, and just enjoying the peaceful views and sounds of the lake. I highly recommend visiting the Finger Lakes and hope I can get back there one day!
When I think of reflections during the new fall season, two things come to mind – the lake near our house and personal goals and reflections. This picture is the lake just down the road from our house, during fall. This lake is one of my favorite places to retreat when in need of a few quiet moments. It is even more beautiful in the fall, with all the colorful trees in the background. I think I’ve taken pictures of the lake every single time I go, no matter how many times. Something about it continues to draw me back and bring me peace. I’ve come to this place to simply sit in the quiet, say a few prayers, take pictures, walk around the water, make a phone call, eat lunch, or quickly take five minutes away from everything. I think a lot of people can relate to my love of water. Whether it be the ocean or this lake, it’s where I find my calmest moments. Just looking down into the water can take you away from the day-to-day tasks and thoughts spinning around your mind.
It may not be a place like this for everyone, but the start of a new season is a great time to take a little bit of quiet for yourself. Just reflect and relax. What is it you are most content with in your life, while beginning a new chapter of the year? What is bothering you? What needs to be changed? How can you do better, or who could you help? Maybe it’s in the form of prayer, journaling, or simply thinking it through in your head. Find a quiet place, alone, and reset for the next three months. It will most likely take more than that one time, but it will get you a jump-start on how to approach or change the next few months of your life.
How ever you choose to do it, use the seasons to reset your mind and outlook. Use it to break a bad habit, or pick up a new one! Go on a weekend getaway, or find something small to appreciate in each day. A new season is one of the easiest times to reflect on yourself and your life. It’s such a beautiful time of year, so why not try to be the best you can? Just like the world looks differently to each of us, we all have our own burdens and challenges. Maybe this is the moment to overcome a struggle or remove the negativity from your life!