That familiar, ghostly whisper of cold in the air. The first glint of amber in a sea of exhausted green. A million little deaths perfuming the streets with a vegetal, earthy tang. I don’t stand a chance against autumn. Every year it creeps in like some unforgotten ex-lover, beautiful and moody and fleeting, and I am bewitched.
I feel most like myself when the world is warm and golden, when I’m not overwhelmed by summer’s lusty chaos or driven into hibernation by the dark, wolfish cold of winter. Autumn feels poetic and gentle, full of wisdom and mystery. In the throes of its death, the world feels so exquisitely alive.
When the seasons shift, it’s wise that we do so as well. Living seasonally is good for you. It’s about mirroring the earth and her cycles, honouring the history of our more pastoral forefathers, remembering that you’re a part of this epic, cosmic dance. It’s just good earthling etiquette to embrace the spirit of the season. Here’s how I’m settling into my favourite time of year.
There’s an almost ritualistic feeling to tucking summer’s airy swaths of linen and cotton into the back of the closet, and unearthing all of those old, cozy knits. I’m particularly drawn to that witchy, 90s sort of aesthetic right now – round glasses, tumbling curls, velvet and tartan. Old leather boots, wool and copper, anything textural and oversized and jewel-toned. Red lipstick, of course, staking my claim on everything from the rim of my coffee cup to my fella’s work shirt collar.
Our larder’s soon to be full of apple butter, sweet potatoes, wild mushrooms, sharp cheeses, and full-bodied red wine. I’m planning on baking many a loaf of peasant bread, and sipping whiskey on the porch in the evenings. And I’m certainly not immune to the fabled charms of the pumpkin spice latte!
This autumn’s soundtrack is rich and soulful, full of old folk songs and spirituals. Peggy Seeger, Karen Dalton, Loretta Lynn, Erykah Badu, The Cox Family. There’s an incredible album by Anais Mitchell called Hadestown that I’ve got on repeat. I’ve even found myself plucking away on my old guitar, tentatively crooning about old boyfriends and the Alberta skies.
Is there anything cozier than a good autumn camping trip? I can’t wait to pull on my moccasins, pile all my woolen blankets into the car, pop corn over the campfire, and sleep under the stars while I still can. Chilly, early-morning yoga amongst the falling leaves, a brisk hike or two in the mountains, and visits to the pumpkin patch and the corn maze are all non-negotiable. I’ve also got plans for a bit of ghost hunting at the Banff Springs Hotel and the old Ranche in Fish Creek.
The annual watch list includes Interview With the Vampire, Sleepy Hollow, Practical Magic, Crimson Peak, The Witches of Eastwick, Coraline, and my latest obsession, The X-Files. I’m not one for real horror, but the combination of campy and spooky wins my heart every time (and let’s be honest, so does Tom Hiddleston in period costume). My side table is stacked high with Poe and Gaiman, and I’ve always got a soft spot for the heart-wrenching gothic romance of Wuthering Heights this time of year.
Autumn is always a time of reflection. It’s about turning inwards and backwards, letting the dying things die, stripping yourself down to the essentials. The new moon is, energetically, the ideal time to intentionally lay things to rest, and we’ve got three coming up this fall – October 1st, 30th, and November 29th. Fire cleanses, so write down the things that you are ready to release, and let them burn.
We owe everything to the ones who’ve gone before us. The broad plane of a cheek, a talent for numbers, a love of dark beer – you are a genetic novel written by thousands of authors. Research your ancestors, your ethnic makeup, the historical chain of events that has lead up to your life. Owning the struggles and triumphs that are a part of your genetic memory is pretty damn empowering, even if some unsavoury things come to light. Autumn is also a time to honour the ones we’ve loved and lost in this lifetime. One of my favourite old folk traditions is the setting of an empty place at the feast table, a tangible and poignant representation of love and loss.
Autumn’s got that dark, romantic, cozy mood, the antidote to summer’s hangover. It’s no wonder why we all fall in love with it every September. To hell with the cynics, I’m putting pumpkin spice in everything.