Autumn arrives today in North America; the Autumnal Equinox. Leaves are changing, temperatures changing, daylight and darkness are changing. So much change happening. I love it! I love the briskness of the air, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, the bright leaves, the mix of rain and Sun, the smell of nature wafting through the atmosphere.
With these changes, we notice a subtle shift within our household too. Cozy clothes start coming out, our walls and tables start to collect giant yellow leaves and pine cones, and soup is on the menu more often.
This year we plan to celebrate the start of a new season by going on a nature walk in an area where Autumn is obviously thriving. We might gather and press some colorful leaves. We may splash in puddles and then get cozy in a pile of blankets and read some seasonal stories.
One thing that I really love about Autumn over all the other seasons is that it feels like a downward shift from the chaos of summer. Everyday was filled with swimming and sweating and getting burned on the playground slides. Now everything seems to zoom in. It zooms in from the constant activity and focuses on the people, the relationships, and the daily rhythm of life. It feels simpler and refreshing. It feels like a giant cozy blanket just pulled out of the dryer waiting to embrace the whole family after a season full of a lot of running and not as much connecting.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. -Albert Camus
I plan to simplify my own obligations this season; to slow down; to be present; to let go of commitments that don’t bring me joy. My kids’ childhoods are flying by and some days I can see clearly how much I miss at times when I’m preoccupied by other things; things that are, at times, just mindless habits. I will still do things that bring me personal joy, but I’m working on being more productive with my time.
Some fun experiences we want to have this fall are:
- Getting outside everyday regardless of the weather.
- Spend more time in an open-ended environment when outside. For instance, playing around on hiking trails and dried up river beds instead of at a playground (although we will still do that sometimes!).
- Read about fairies, love, and magic as often as possible.
- Make food preparation a bonding time rather than a give-the-kids-the-tablet-so-I-can-cook-faster time, even if that means there is more mess and dawdling.
- Create art more. Here are 16 sensory and open-ended Autumn art ideas. Art can seem overwhelming if you are aiming for a specific finished product. I want to allow for more creation of process art; pine cone stamping on paper; painting our bodies; pasting shredded up paper onto pumpkins; creating nature mandalas.
Autumn is a time where all the trees shed their excess (leaves) to make sure their bodies are strong and ready for winter. I love the symbolism for ourselves. A time of releasing what isn’t serving us and focusing on those things that are really close to our heart.
What are your favorite Autumnal Equinox traditions?