Nipping air, murky skies, dark puddles, and crisp edges in each sense: Fall is here!
I have been slowly reawakening from my summer stupor, and enjoying every moment of actual seasonal change. Despite the outwards appearance of death that seems to characterize Autumn, it is when the 5 senses seem to sharpen: colors are brighter, smells are cleaner, tastes are warmer, touching is cooler, and sounds are richer.
To celebrate, I give you 10 of my favorite things in Autumn. Choose one for each of your senses, and indulge!
10 Autumnal Artworks
10: The Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack (2005)
While Knightly is a terrible Lizzy and I cannot in good conscience recommend the movie, the soundtrack is fantastic! Dario Marianelli is excellent in all that he does, but here his work sparkles with the clean, sharp images that go perfectly with the season.
9: Apple Cider
Hot or cold, spiced or au natural, (I prefer mine with a generous splash of peaty scotch,) apple cider is an absolutely work of art. Think of the time, work, and tradition that go into making cider! While it may not have the individuality or require the skill of a poem or painting, still, cider makes the senses tingle with life. It fills the partaker with an incredible sense of time, place, and peace. It epitomizes the taste and smell of all good things in Harvest time.
8: The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy Sayers
Even ancient cultures recognized something dark and eery and tangibly mysterious about the Autumn. (Samhain?) Therefore, a good mystery is must for those days when you have an hour to spare, and warm blanket, and a hot mug of your preferred beverage. Sayers is a favorite of the Egotists, but this mystery is particularly suited to the season; it is filled with graves, bells, ominous skies, and the blandly blundering Lord Peter.
7: This view of Yellowstone, by American painter Thomas Moran
6: Sauteing onions with the doors (or possibly windows) open
This art does require a certain amount of participation on your part. It’s very modern that way.
When the wind is blowing from the east and the eves are dripping steady rainfall, open all the doors (or windows) and bend low over the heat of the stove. Slice an onion and throw it into a pan already bubbling with melted butter. With a wooden spoon shove both onions and butter about at will. When an aroma begins to arise, step back from the stove.
Feel the mingling of chill breeze from the open door and steamy heat on your skin. Inhale the sweet, tangy, wild scent of onions and rain. Know that life is astoudning.
5: Rocking chairs
Rocking chairs are one of the greatest advances of civilization. Even the Ancient Philosophers, in their wisdom, would have lavished praise on the rocking chair, that divinely inspired combination of sitting apparatus and cradle. It is a functional meditation on the complex nature of humanity: wise and child-like, hard-working and leisure-loving, practically minded and beauty oriented. The combined parts living as a whole and complete rocking chair both inspires deep thoughts about our contradictory selves and gives us a place in which to think them.
Leaping light, low crackling, living heat, and woodsmoke scents. Autumn bonfires have been extolled for centuries, in part, (I think,) because they appeal to almost every sense so pleasantly. Contrasting colder weather and darker days with wildly controlled flames only makes resilient mortals more at ease in our domain between worlds.
3: Four Season: Autumn 3rd mvt, Vivaldi
This is high on the list for obvious reasons. The stately dance of grey clouds to the wild tumble of leaves are all present to your ears!
2: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
“Wild nights are my glory”, declares a very wonderful Mrs. Whatsit one stormy Autumn night. Aside from being one of the best books of childhood, this story is filled with a presence of Autumn; from the actual earthly setting to the plot arcs of sacrifice and renewal.
1: The Poetry of Robert Frost
After Apple Picking
|My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree|
|Toward heaven still,|
|And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill|
|Beside it, and there may be two or three|
|Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.||5|
|But I am done with apple-picking now.|
|Essence of winter sleep is on the night,|
|The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.|
|I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight|
|I got from looking through a pane of glass||10|
|I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough|
|And held against the world of hoary grass.|
|It melted, and I let it fall and break.|
|But I was well|
|Upon my way to sleep before it fell,||15|
|And I could tell|
|What form my dreaming was about to take.|
|Magnified apples appear and disappear,|
|Stem end and blossom end,|
|And every fleck of russet showing clear.||20|
|My instep arch not only keeps the ache,|
|It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.|
|I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.|
|And I keep hearing from the cellar bin|
|The rumbling sound||25|
|Of load on load of apples coming in.|
|For I have had too much|
|Of apple-picking: I am overtired|
|Of the great harvest I myself desired.|
|There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,||30|
|Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.|
|That struck the earth,|
|No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,|
|Went surely to the cider-apple heap||35|
|As of no worth.|
|One can see what will trouble|
|This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.|
|Were he not gone,|
|The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his||40|
|Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,|
|Or just some human sleep.|