the rise and fall of autumn

Autumn. Let’s talk about it, shall we? Today just so happens to be the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. This time of year has actually been known by several names over the years including ‘harvest,’ ‘fall of the leaf,’ ‘fall,’ and ‘autumn,’ the last two of which are still predominantly used today. No matter how you refer to it, this time of year is one of my favorite. 

Things that fall

Although we haven’t yet felt the true autumnal temperatures in Asheville yet, this time of year is marked by the mercury dropping on the thermometer. A descending fog is a normal occurrence, and as a result there is the element of encompassing stillness. As the days cool even more, many trees will begin their transition to dormancy by displaying brilliant reds, oranges and yellows in their leaves before their leaves drop to the earthen floor. As summer retreats for another calendar cycle, these are a few markers of what’s in store for our upcoming season. 

One unexpected fall marker happened for our family about a week ago. It was a typical summer day in that the day was bright, sunny and warm. North Carolina was on high alert from an impending hurricane, but the weather that day gave no indication that it was on the way. Dylan and I had just finished playing tennis with my parents, when we noticed a woman calling up a tree. We walked over to her and she told us there was a little kitty stuck up in the branches. It didn’t take long for Dylan to start climbing up to rescue it.

He needed both hands to climb down, so putting his faith in me, he dropped the kitty down to me. The cat literally fell into my arms. Let’s forget about the part where I then placed said kitty on the ground and it ran up another tree, from which Dylan then had to go and grab it again, and let’s just focus on the part where this little, unanticipated being had fallen into our lives. 

Little yawn from Little Pine

Little yawn from Little Pine

We decided to head straight to the Humane Society to see if kitty was microchipped (she was not), and instead of leaving her at the facility for the long, stormy weekend, we asked to foster her. Not knowing how Mr. Takk (our kitty at home) was going to take to a new feline friend, we figured fostering was the best option. However, the only way to bring her home immediately was to adopt, so we put our faith in this little angel and we adopted, praying it would all work out.

Now one week on, there have been some minor hiccups and a couple of setbacks, but life in our household has some semblance of ‘normal.’ A new normal, I guess you could say. Two helicopter parents, two skittish kitties, one mostly peaceful, often purring household. I can take zero credit for integrating them as much as they been have since, just a day after adopting her, I left for several days in Austin. Dylan is a wonder dad! 

As is likely normal, despite wanting to treat this situation as a trial, we have already fallen in love with our newest addition who we call Little Pine, LP for short. We only hope that our beloved Takk will soon feel as smitten as we, and she of him! 

She’s getting pretty comfy with her new digs, so much cozier than a prickly pine tree!

She’s getting pretty comfy with her new digs, so much cozier than a prickly pine tree!

Things that rise

Gryffindor scarf in the making!

Gryffindor scarf in the making!

Because it’s one of my favorite seasons, autumn’s arrival brings a rise in my excitement level. Cooler weather equals an increase in my desire to knit, thus creating an influx in my cool weather wardrobe. I’ve got several projects on the horizon, but I’m currently caught up in knitting a garnet and gold scarf (I’m a total Harry Potter fan, so of course I got sorted on Pottermore. I’m in Gryffindor House, hence the colors of my scarf). There’s something autumnally cozy about the thought of curling up on the couch, putting a Harry Potter movie on, drinking some pumpkin beer, and knitting. I can’t wait for that! 

I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a short period of time in the middle of me observing how hot it is outside, and complaining about how cold it is - and that time is autumn (and conversely spring). In the summertime, I typically spend the hottest hours of the day indoors because I’m not overtly crazy about high temperatures, but yet I still go to hot yoga. Now, I love yoga in every season, but hot yoga in the summertime can be punishing. A couple of classes this summer were so hot that I thought I was going to melt. Knowing that the humidity and heat outside will decrease in the coming weeks as autumn settles in, definitely amplifies my desire to get to class. 

I also anticipate a surge in our hiking this season, which is super exciting. Hiking is always rewarding, but hiking through crunching leaves, while admiring the spectacle of foliage and not ending up a hot mess, is ultra satisfying. Hopefully we’ll plan out longer hikes, perhaps farther from home, like we did when we were training two years ago for Kilimanjaro. Looking back, if you subtract my anxiety of being ready to hike the highest peak in Africa, those fall hikes in the mountains were some of my all-time favorite jaunts in Western North Carolina. 

When I look at this season from this lens, it appears as though there’s some balance - while some things fall, others rise. And in the end, that’s the aim, right? Balance. So, whether you’re celebrating the arrival of fall (or spring, depending on what side of the globe you’re located), or lamenting the end of a more favored season, my hope for you is that there’s balance in store. 

Do you notice a seasonal shift - perhaps the rise and fall of certain things - with the onset of autumn? What are some of your favorite fall markers? 

View from Little Butt (it’s a hike), over the Black Mountains.

View from Little Butt (it’s a hike), over the Black Mountains.