I confess, when I think of Autumn, I think of this:
I have always loved the blaze of leaves, the chill in the air, the change in produce from melons to pumpkins and apples.
I do not have that kind of autumn down here in South Florida. I remember one year walking into a grocery store and getting a strong whiff of the cinnamon brooms. I thought, oh, yes, autumn approaches--in other parts of the U.S.
Yesterday in the grocery store, I noticed that I can still buy melons, even as much of the produce section shifts to more autumnal offerings like sweet potatoes, apples, and winter squash.
I do what I can to mark the shift in seasons. I buy flowers that aren't native. Instead of hibiscus or bougainvillea, I get some mums, and I wonder if mums are that autumnal in color or if they've been dyed. I try to remember the mums that my grandmother grew, but I remember her summer gardens: snapdragons and hydrangea.
I have a collection of autumnal placemats and other decorations. A few days ago, even though it's still blazingly hot here, I put out the Halloween table linens. I arranged the fireplace mantel with gold candles in their holders in the shape of pine cones, the fake pumpkins, and some autumn colored ribbons. The framed print that you can see in the picture below is by artist Jim Gray:
I book-end the mantel with ceramics made by my potter friend Mary Mason:
Yes, you read that correctly: I put these items on my fireplace mantel. Even though it's only cold enough for a fire a few times a year, we have a fireplace in our living room; usually when we use it, the AC kicks on.
But it's good for decorating, which is the main way I mark the change of seasons here.
I also change my baking. Last week, I made the first batch of pumpkin bread. My spouse said, "It smells like fall in here."
He went out to mow the lawn. I moved on to making a pot of soup with plans to crank up the AC when it was time for dinner.
Still, each day the sun sets a smidge earlier. Soon it will be time to think about Halloween in a more serious way. Soon, it will be Thanksgiving. Soon, I will decorate the mantel for Christmas. It's a way to keep me mindful, since the weather here certainly does not.
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