Senses of Autumn

photo by Sarah Jaber.

By Colleen Forkin


Let’s face it, the steadily dropping temperature as the year creeps slowly into the winter season tends to put most of us in a gloomy mood.

The first time we step outside only to find that we need to step back indoors and grab a jacket is often depressing.      We long for the summer days (mere weeks ago) when the sun beat down on us and tempted us to shed articles of clothing rather than to add them.  With the mindset that the increasingly cold weather will inevitably bring about the deep chill of yet another flu-ridden, bone-chilling, teeth-rattling winter season, we often ignore all of the delights that the fall season has to bring.  So, let’s take the time enjoy this charming season by using every one of our five senses to the best of their abilities.

We should first take in the smells of Autumn.  From the moment we awake, before our eyes even begin to crack open, our noses are already sniffing out the day:  rich apple cider brewing on the stove, a pumpkin pie baking steadily in the oven and sharp, chocolate Halloween candy in a bowl by the door waiting to be doled out generously on the 31st.

Our ears start working next to take in the day.  We hear the rustle of endless leaves caught in a light, refreshing breeze blowing by our bedrooms.  The crunch and crackle of people trodding over fallen leaves on the sidewalk right outside meets our ears next.  By nightfall the sounds of a fall morning will have melted into the entirely different noises of a Autumn day after dark.  We’ll hear the ghostly mimics from teenage children trying to scare younger siblings and shrieks and gasps from younger children as their older siblings succeed.  Owls will hoot tirelessly while larger creatures from nearby woods will howl in the darkness.  Such sounds will convince us to travel in groups after nightfall.

After our noses and ears have taken in all that they can, we’ll open our eyes to the reddish, yellowish shafts of sunlight streaming in through our bedroom window.  As we look out our window we’ll see every array of color between pale yellow to deep, maroon red on the trees.  Jack-o-lanterns will grin at us from doorstoops, porches, and neighboring windows.  The cornfields will sport corn-stuffed scarecrows, some adorned with pointed witches hats and make-shift spider webs designed to scare not only the crows.  By night the streets will be filled with young wizards, goblins, and princesses all searching for mounds of candy.

At about this time our stomach will grumble with an early-morning hankering for some of that pie and cider we smelled earlier.  We’ll wander into the kitchen and take a large piece of creamy pumpkin pie and a large glass of tangy apple cider to start our day.  Perhaps throughout the day we’ll treat ourselves to a sticky caramel apple before we stuff our bellies with Halloween candy late into the night.

After our “healthy” breakfast, we’ll get dressed and venture out into the fall air.  We’ll feel a brisk breeze ruffle our hair and we’ll have to dodge falling leaves as we walk down the sidewalk.  We’ll feel the satisfying crinkle of leaves beneath our feet and we’ll keep our hands in our pockets to keep them from getting too cold.  At night we’ll put our hoods up to protect our ears from the windy air.

Instead of dreading the upcoming winter season each day, we should all stop ourselves for a moment and appreciate the gifts that Autumn has to bring.  After all, these are the last few weeks we get before we have to bundle up and settle in for another long, long winter.  We might as well make the best of them.