Autumn's Glorious Arrival
I think it's pretty safe to say that Summer gets the lion's share of love from people when it comes to their favourite season. There is undoubtedly plenty to love about Summer - I'm not denying that. The warm sunshine, days at the beach, barbecues, longer days; it's all good. We even had something of a second wind when it came to Summer this year, with September reaching highs of 27°C in some parts of the UK. This was a welcome surprise after a fairly mild August, but the temperature has nosedived in the past week or so following our late sunshine. And let me tell you, this has thrilled me. My standout favourite season of the year is Autumn - no question. I am here today to celebrate the beginning of this wonderful time of year, and to encourage you to do the same.
I can understand why people lament the days getting shorter. Most of us spend the majority of these precious hours of sunlight at work, and there is something rather depressing about barely getting to even witness daylight for the best part of the week. Getting up for work in the dark is all the more difficult, and sometimes it can be difficult to even pry yourself out of bed when it's so cold. But these are all problems that only exist when you're perpetually judging the world with your Summer brain. Once that chill seeps into the air and the leaves begin to fall - it's time to let go of those notions, embrace Autumn, and all that comes with it.
Oranges. Browns. Yellows. Reds. Autumn is an explosion of colour in the natural world, and it's amazing to see the transformation that woods, parks and gardens go through at this time of year. I think that Spring and Autumn are the two seasons most closely associated with nature, as they are both transitional phases that transform the world in preparation for what is to come. These are beautiful transformations, and they should be celebrated as much as a Midsummer's day or snowfall at Christmas. As the temperature begins to drop; hats, coats, scarves and boots come out. I love Fall chic, and like the leaves around us, the autumnal wardrobe too explodes into a golden palette of warm tones. Comfy jumpers, thick socks, waterproofs - forget getting beach-body-ready, is your wardrobe Autumn-forest-ready?!
A hugely disproportionate number of my friends and family celebrate their birthdays in Autumn, myself included. Birthday parties, meals and pub crawls litter my weekends, and there seems to be an increased sense of spirit and fervour among my friends. Whether it's a brisk walk together through the leaves and cold evening fog, a cosy coffee in the warm or a celebratory pile-in at the local pub, there always seems to be an excuse to get together, and it's great. Of course, you've then got things like Bonfire night if you're British, or Thanksgiving if you're American, but the obvious crown jewel of the Autumnal festivities is Halloween, which seems to have become young people's favourite holiday of the year. It's easy to see why, as it's such a multifaceted occasion. Trick-or-Treating, costumes, partying, horror films and spooky stories - there's something for everyone when Halloween rolls around. Young or old, introvert or extrovert, casual pumpkin enthusiast or occult fanatic - you can celebrate it in pretty much whatever way you desire. Whilst it's true that it has become horrendously over-commercialised and Autumn is in danger of becoming saturated with Halloween-related imagery, this shouldn't prevent you from being able to enjoy it nonetheless.
It's no coincidence that this strange festival takes place as the darkness closes in - during Halloween we adorn our houses and streets with imagery of ghosts and skulls; a reminder of the inevitability of death and the transitory nature of life, just as the natural world around us is, too, inevitably transforming and dying. The trees cling onto the last of their life before plunging into the grim stasis of Winter, and we are hopeless to stop the days from getting shorter, darker and colder. It embodies many things that are intrinsically linked with the season, and, rather than fearing death and the encroaching darkness, Halloween is a defiant celebration of that which we should fear. And that is absolutely what enjoying Autumn is all about - enjoy the chill in the air, because it's inevitable, and it's not going to be warm again for a long while yet. We can't slow or stop the changing of the seasons, so let's double down on appreciating them.
The cold and dark may be drawing in, but that only strengthens the need for a sense of unity, festive cheer and gathering, and it's a wonderful thing to behold each year. In these times we should not lament the ending of Summer, but rather embrace the unique qualities of Autumn and all that it brings. And, as the light wanes, we must look to each other to make our own light.