This is what fall looks like. Really.

by threegirlpileup

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In my ongoing push to create a little more order and ease around here, I tackled the various surfaces of our dining room this weekend.  Which included a refreshing of our nature table, which had turned more into a rocks, sticks, and small-toys-or-boxes-that-really-belong-elsewhere table.  There were plenty of goodies from our New York trip–fossils and special rocks and feathers.  But I wanted to add some live things to the table, so Anna and I headed outside to see what we could find in the yard.  As you can see, we came back with bundles of flowers and greenery, which we fit into vases and added to the table.  So now our nature table has the same bountiful, colorful feeling that we find right outside our door.

But here’s the thing.  It’s OCTOBER.  Isn’t that supposed to be the season of chilly winds and turning leaves?  The autumn equinox has passed, shouldn’t things be dying and making way for winter by now?  Certainly, any waldorfy fall nature table is filled with dark greens, browns, and oranges, with fallen leaves and autumnal elves.  Where’s the REAL fall?

It amazes me that I have lived in North Carolina for almost twenty years, and it’s taken me this long to really understand that this IS fall.  It’s not the storybook fall filled with cold noses, pumpkins, and blowing leaves.  Well, we have all those things, but they don’t usually start until later.  In the meantime, we have sunny days in the 70’s, colorful blooming flowers, and abundant local produce.

Even more, fall is a time for celebration in this part of the world.  In more northern climes, fall is an ending, the transition from the sun and warmth of summer to the dark and cold of winter.  Around here, we all breathe a collective sigh of relief when the first cool days hit.  We’ve made it through the blistering heat of the summer.  We can crawl out of our air-conditioned homes and actually enjoy being in the sun again.

Perhaps it is because I am a child of a northern climate, but I have always been a wee bit judgmental about the weather around here.  Too hot in the summer.  Not a “real” winter.  And, of course, not a “real” fall.  And what’s the main effect of that judgment?  By holding up some mythical standard of what “real” seasons are, I’ve failed to notice what a glorious time of year this is.  True, there are no (unsprayed) apples growing close enough for us to go pick them, and sometimes we misjudge and end up sweating in our Halloween costumes.  But we also get weeks on end of weather that invites us outside to play, to pick flowers, and to hunt for vegetables in the garden.

Oh, life is so much better when I can enjoy what IS, instead of measuring it against what it might be.  Who knew that could be such a challenge?

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