Slipping Into Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season, and I’ve noticed that I have that in common with many people. It’s just so comfortable–the oppressive heat of summer finally calms down; you can start enjoying delicious soups and the classic pumpkin spice latte. You can wear a cute jacket. The leaves start to turn into their beautiful yellows and oranges and reds. No more sweating the moment you step outside. It’s the season when things get cozy.

And right now, we need cozy.

By the time you read this, I’ll have reached 200 days in quarantine. Back when I wrote a post addressing quarantine and how to get through it, it had only been 20 days. And I will say this, following my own advice has done me plenty of good (and I certainly hope it was helpful to you)… But let’s be honest, at 20 days, I was a little naive. This has gone on much much longer than I ever anticipated, and it’s only gotten worse. The numbers of Covid cases and deaths rise every day. They’ve skyrocketed since school has gone back into session, and it’s nothing short of a betrayal by our authorities. (They could not have made it clearer: they don’t care if we live or die. It’s just about the money).

Revisit my post about taking care of yourself in quarantine. We all need to amp up the self-love now more than ever. Not to mention cradling our mental health.

My advice now, at 200 days, is more about pragmatism. We have to be responsible. Restaurants and cinemas are open. Don’t go to them. Don’t travel. Don’t go to house parties or family reunions. Utilize contactless delivery services. And above all: WEAR A MASK. Anytime you go someplace where other people will be, it is your duty as an accountable member of society to wear your mask. Covering your mouth and nose has proven the most effective way to frustrate the spread of the disease.

We have no choice but to do our part here. We have to rely on ourselves and on each other.

In the meantime, Autumn has already proven a tremendous comfort, and I’m leaning into it hard. I’m cooking warm meals; I’m wearing fall colors. I light a pumpkin spice candle every evening. I’m watching movies like Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Anything to invoke those cozy, spooky feelings that I so desperately need.

Pictured: not me (but I love that mug)

As I type this, I am wearing some warm, fluffy socks.

I’m also listening to this video I found on YouTube called Cozy Fall Coffee Shop Ambience, and it’s exactly that. It’s literally just the noise of a quiet cafe on a rainy Autumn evening, with smooth jazz playing over it. I discovered it by accident, but it’s improved my mood considerably–it’s precisely what I’ve been missing since those long-ago days when I would type up my blog inside an actual coffee shop.

It’s the little things that get us through.

I can’t sugarcoat a pandemic, but I don’t see the harm in sugarcoating pretty much everything else. I’ve spent hours over the last week looking at aesthetic photos like the ones I’m showing you right now. Just the sight of Fall–the leaves, the coffee, the baked goods–just that visual has been enough to sustain me through my darker days.

Instagram photo by @pumpkinscenery

We’ve all realized at this point that Facebook is a toxic dumpster fire, but Instagram (though not perfect) has a lot more options if you want to look at pleasant things. I’ve started following several accounts that are solely dedicated to the Autumn aesthetic.

@magicinsalem

Bonus points to the photos that include coffee. Especially if it has latte art, like the picture above.

@autumncabin

Or if there’s a fire. Can’t get enough of a bright, crackling fire. The cold doesn’t matter if you’re sitting by one of those, sipping on a nice hot drink.

@ntontina

Some pages exclusively focus on the baked goods. They make the most gorgeous, autumnal-looking cakes and pies and cookies, and everything else you can imagine. Eating something delicious is one of life’s great pleasures, and it only enhances things when you’re eating something beautiful.

@mgnienieoka.foto

And though I love all the warm Fall colors, I also hold a special appreciation for the pictures with soft, cool lighting. I like to be reminded that it’s cold outside (or that it will be soon, at least). That first cool breeze after months of roasting in the sun, that’s what gets me. Those warm fuzzy feelings always come rushing back. That’s why this is my season. My spirits are always bolstered when there’s a chill in the air.

@autumn.grimoire

And of course, anything that reminds me Halloween is on the way is more than welcome. Spooky season really can’t come fast enough this year.

At the beginning of this year (back when I was doing silly things like making plans), I had a New Year’s resolution: to live for each moment. My head has always been either stuck in the past or the future, and I’d realized that living in the present was the only way I was going to get the most out of being alive.

Living in the moment, though it has been a struggle to do it, has been my saving grace in 2020. When the future suddenly looks so uncertain, I can’t tell you how much it helps to say, “The future doesn’t exist yet.” I could never have guessed what this year was going to be like, and the truth is, I have no way of guessing what next year will bring either. The point is, I just have to get there and see, one day, one hour, one moment at a time.

My friends, be safe, and be kind to yourselves. Keep in mind what’s really important. I’ve lost some sleep these 200 days, and I’ve gained 10 pounds, but that just simply doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m still alive. And that’s all I want for all of you. I just want us to make it.

Take pleasure in this gorgeous Autumn…

And have a beautiful week.

(Please take a few extra seconds to click this link. It will take you to a reference page where you can find several different resources for helping the Black Lives Matter movement. Also, make sure you are registered to vote. This site makes it sooo easy, and it’s well past time to vote out the officials who don’t have our best interests at heart.)

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