Monday, November 1, 2010

Intensely Arkansas: Autumn Rituals

There is a special time of year that is intensely Arkansas, for lack of better words... and we are in the midst of it.

The weeks that surround the peak of fall foliage just have a special feeling about them.  The sunlight is dappled, there is a smattering of color on the trees and the ground, it's brisk and pleasant out and kids are trying out those back to school clothes that look so cute (but it was too hot, honestly, to wear leg warmers in September).

There is something about October and November that just says "get outside."  I've been antsy to hike, stroll, bike and camp.  Our eldest (along with her Dad) definitely feel it too... they are outside "working in the yard" when there is definitely no work to be done.  The season makes us all want to light a fire in the backyard or walk in the woods or the neighborhood. 

There seems to be a collective sense of community at this time of year as well, though.  People are starting to be nicer, as they are prone to do toward the holidays.  I hear more "good mornings" and see more eye contact.  Neighbors have started baking and delivering goodies just because, and I feel the same annual pull to make something with my hands and give it away.  I love these particular, unidentifiable feelings specifically because they feel like a general harkening to times gone by.  When the seasons pulled and directed our actions rather than society, I think we were all the better for it.  I certainly am not one who thinks we all need to go back to the way things were a decade or a century ago, but I think we could all benefit from listening to these subtle signals that are so easily overlooked the more wired (literally and figuratively) we become.

The irony of blogging about this sentiment is not lost on me, and in fact I think it makes the message even more compelling.  How easily we can become lost in the future if we don't take the time to be tied to the past.  Autumn is about wrapping up our outside chores, readying our homes for cozy times through the winter months, stocking our pantries and those of our neighbors.  Our drinks and meals turn heartier and more fortifying, and we greet our neighbors before settling in for those long winter naps.  We leap in the leaves and run one last time around the yard or down the trail before we feel it's time for a break.  In theory, we prepare our hearts, minds, bodies and homes for an internal focus on family.

I feel like selecting good reading for the winter, readying the board games, stacking up the blankets near the fireplace and bringing a symbol of autumn and a brittle branch or two into the house. 

Enjoy the rituals of the change in seasons, and all those things we do without realizing it because they are ingrained as the last ties we have to our ancestors. It's a lovely feeling, made all the lovelier by recognizing and dwelling on it a bit before we plug back into reality, literally again.

Happy fall!

Just for fun:  Arkansas Fall Foliage Peak Times


  1. Autumn is hands down the best season of the year! I can't wait to get out and hike this weekend. Good post!

  2. Hi! We just wanted to take a moment to let you know about the upcoming Arkansas Women Bloggers get-together that will be held at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock on December 11th. Join us for food, fun and GIVEAWAYS and a chance to meet your fellow women blogger! Please RSVP on our website if you plan to attend. You can find a button on the left side of