In the confusing and exhausting daze that has been 2020, time has warped. Days turn to weeks seemingly without division, weeks to months before realizing what month it even is, and the seasons have flowed together in a strangely seamless way.
Autumn is probably my favorite season and I look forward to it every year. The air gets colder and the days get shorter, as the angle of the sunlight lowers and lengthens. Beautiful colors slowly sweep across the treetops. Things seem to get more peaceful as people get ready for winter, and I reset myself every year at this same time as I notice these things happening. I typically find myself reading or sitting to listen to music more often, relaxing with a glass of wine and a fire in the fireplace, and other activities that start to slow things down for a chance to reflect. Maybe that’s why autumn is my favorite season…it slowly sweeps in and creates the perfect atmosphere to think and reflect on a personal level. It creates a sense of inner peace that comes easily to me at this time of year.
This year however, autumn snuck up on me. I’ve been getting chores completed that I need to finish before it gets cold, but I was never really thinking “autumn” while doing them. Then last week, the time warp that I mentioned above ended for me. We were driving up to visit my son at college and I looked out the window while driving past a cliff on the side of the highway. Draping over the side of this perfectly vertical cliff and running forty feet down its face to the ground were different varieties of vines, each one a different color. There were reds, oranges, yellows, greens, browns, and blends of colors of all different intensities. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It was at that moment that I said to myself “Wait, it’s autumn already!”
The rest of the ride was completely different after that. I noticed that the leaves on many different types of trees are changing fast here in southern New York, and many are even dropping already from the windy days we’ve had recently. My favorite season is upon me, and I plan to enjoy the rest of it.
Things are different this year though. Many autumn traditions that we like to do to get outdoors and enjoy the autumn splendor have been canceled. No Oktoberfests, no craft shows, no music festivals. Fortunately, at least the mountains themselves are still open so we can take some hikes, get some fresh air, and enjoy the slow slide into the colder months. We’ll try to do that in the coming few weeks before we wake up and suddenly find snow on the ground!
The pandemic has changed all of us and the way we look at certain things. One way it has changed me is how I think about and use my time. I’m more selective about the things I spend time on, and I’m thinking and reflecting more. I’ve also found that the current situation has re-awakened some of the interests that I’ve always enjoyed, but sometimes don’t have much spare time for. I have that time now and for the foreseeable future, and I will pursue them again. Things like sitting down in a quiet room to read a book or listening to a favorite jazz album start to finish, uninterrupted by anything. Even something as simple as sitting outside on our patio, watching the leaves fall and listening to the wind blow through the trees.
We have time for these things now. Use it to find yourself again.