Simply BeLEAF

If anyone were to describe me to extra-terrestrial visitors they, without hesitation, would state two things about me. The first being that I love and adore my dog more than words can ever properly express. And secondly, that autumn is, hands down, my favourite time of year.

October is my favourite month. Heck, I’ll even go so far to say it’s my favourite colour. My room is decorated in vast arrays of what I call “the palette of autumn”. Oranges, reds, yellows, and browns grace almost every inch of my sanctuary of slumber. Two years ago IOctober even had a quilt custom made with Fall leaves all over it. It has become the “piece du résistance” of my gloriously cozy king sized bed. My walls are filled with pictures I took during my many autumn travels – close-ups of fire engine red maple leafs from Ontario north county, piles of bright orange pumpkins from a farmer’s market in Vermont, and clusters of trees oozing vibrant flashes of colour throughout wooded wonderlands. Simply put, I LOVE the fall.

I’m not sure when my obsession with all things autumn officially took over my life, but I suspect that it had a lot to do with my overactive imagination as a child. Even though I’m well in to my escalating adulthood, I still hold vivid memories of skipping home from school during chilly October days, all the while making up imaginative scenarios of being able to fly or creating an edited version of a scary Haunted House in our front entrance.  Above all, however, fall is a time of year that takes me back to some of my favourite life-to-date memories. Most notably, the Thanksgivings spent at my grandmother’s house which included hikes with my dad and our dog during which we all took part in the hunt for ideal acorns and perfectly press-able leaves to include in my grade school science projects. Even now, once the cool, crisp air signals its arrival, I’m instantly teleported back to periods of my life where I felt safe, warm, and immensely loved. The smell of the autumnal air evokes intense memories of yesteryear. I simply can’t get enough.

An exciting day for Dora & I - pumpkin arrival day!
An exciting day for Dora & I – pumpkin arrival day!

I will be the first to admit that my love of all things autumn hit hyper drive when my beloved pooch Dora came into my life. The main reason – her birthday falls on All Hallows Eve – October 31st. Since Dora is pretty much the equivalent of a furry child to me, having her birthday fall on Halloween was a gift in of itself. By her third birthday I think she succumbed to the fact that there was no point in fighting the yearly humiliation of “costume accessorization”. Once a year I was granted a free pass to dress her up so long as the rest of the year (outside of her winter jackets) I wouldn’t even think of attempting to put her in doggie clothes. It’s an agreement that we’ve sustained for nearly nine years and even though this year’s costume has yet to be determined, I know it will be met with the same mixture of disdain and tolerance that has become our yearly “tradition”.

"Oh autumnal tree, autumnal tree, your branches are so orange-y..."
“Oh autumnal tree, autumnal tree, your branches are so orange-y…”

Speaking of traditions, another one I started a few years ago was to put up an “autumnal tree” on the first day of the autumn equinox. While I know many thought I had officially lost my mind when I starting putting my Christmas tree up in September, I get the feeling now that those same people secretly look forward to the annual picture of my completed tree. (Yes, I get a lot of use out of my Christmas tree). Even my neighbours seem to have gotten used to seeing a festival of orange, red, and white lights glimmer through the panes of my front room windows. The tree has simply become a sparkling delight of all things autumn and just makes me so unbelievably happy.

Next week my mom, Dora, and I will be making the trek slightly north to a well-known farmer’s market. While I have been to this same market many times before, I have yet to do so in the gloriousness that is October. I simply can’t wait to navigate row after row of autumn vegetables and perfectly plump pumpkins; to tickle my olfactory glands with the sweet smells of apple fritters and cinnamon doughnuts; to stroll down leaf lined streets while absorbing myself into harvest themed window displays. This trip is, without exaggeration, my version of Disneyland. Yes, such a comparison may seem bizarre and farfetched to many, but for me this time of year symbolizes change and connectedness. We are granted front row seats to the inner workings of Mother Nature; the natural world becoming her palette of all things bright and beautiful. It is such a wonderful sight to behold.

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If you are fortunate enough to live in a part of the world that experiences all the splendors that the autumnal season has to offer, I encourage you to take some time in the next few days and simply STOP (Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed) and let yourself be overcome with the immense magnificence that is this time of year. Allow the cool air to fill your lungs while you take in the fresh aroma of wet foliage. But most significantly, reflect on the fact that even though leafs are falling and the world seems to be wilting away, in a few months life will once again begin anew – as it always does – a wonderful yet simple metaphor (and reminder) for our own unyielding chaotic lives.

Happy Autumn Everyone!

(And to all my Canadian readers – Happy (early) Thanksgiving! Gobble! Gobble!)

Erica 🙂


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