Autumn Appreciation: What I’m Looking Forward to This Fall

This morning, while logging into Zoom class at the crisp time of 8 AM, I glanced out the window and saw a bright red tree. Poets would describe it as a vermilion or scarlet refuge in the midst of all this late summer greenery. Like, it was beautiful. It filled me with as much joy as I could be filled with during a global pandemic while logging onto a Zoom class from my childhood home to give a graded presentation to a class full of half-asleep people.

I could’ve sworn the tree was perfectly green just yesterday, and yet today it was the blazing color of fire. Just thinking about it makes me all warm and gushy inside. September 22nd was the first day of fall, but that tree was the first sign of the season change I noticed from Mother Nature herself.

walkway through the woods in the fall Photo by PGloutnay from Pixabay

While 2020 is different from any year we’ve experienced before, fall brings a sense of familiarity. In these “unprecedented times,” familiarity is very welcome! It’s comforting to be in my hometown and see the leaves change as I’ve done since I was a kid. More so, it’s nice to have things to look forward to when the future seems so bleak.

As much as I miss being on campus, I’m challenging myself to see the positives in the situation and be grateful for what is and isn’t. Autumn will be different this year, but I’m greeting it with relief and excitement. I’m hoping my ideas can inspire some optimism and excitement for the little enjoyments autumn offers. So, with no further ado, and in no particular order, here’s what I’m looking forward to this fall:

lit candles at home Photo by Rebecca Peterson-Hall from Unsplash

  • Fall-scented candles on every windowsill. There are so many possible scents: apple, cinnamon, clove, caramel, cranberry, teakwood, amber, hazelnut, marshmallow, maple, and more! I want my home to smell like a bonfire with smoldering embers, a forest full of pine trees and crunchy colored leaves, and grandma’s kitchen with pumpkin pie and gingersnaps in the oven all at once. There are so many possibilities. The beauty of candles is that they add so much coziness to the environment simply by existing. Lighting one while I’m studying or attending a Zoom class boosts my mood instantaneously.

  • Sweats and pajamas… every day. My favorite benefit to online classes is being able to wear sweatpants whenever I want, and no one needs to know. Now is the time to pull out every pair of sweats you own. Seriously, even the weird ones hiding in the back of your closet. Comfort rules.

  • Horror movies. I may be scarred for the rest of my life after watching them, but it’s about the vibes. Now is the perfect time to binge watch every horror film you’ve ever had the slightest inclination to see. Nothing gets you in the mood for autumn and Halloween like a good jump scare (and not being able to go down to the basement at night for the foreseeable future due to the mere thought of the demon lady from The Conjuring).

  • Fall weather. Chilly days with the sun warming you up from the crisp breeze. In September and October, I’ve noticed the sky sometimes turns this deep, dark blue that seems so far away. I can’t wait for that, nor can I wait for the nights when it’s windy and rainy and the water droplets against the windows create a gentle rhythmic sound as you, cozy in bed, drift off to sleep. 

Book of Music in Leaves Photo by ulleo from Pixabay

  • Spooky season in general. Everything about it. Halloween costumes, scary makeup, silly decorations, and “Spooky Scary Skeletons” on repeat.

  • Halloween candy, but after Halloween, when it goes on sale. My personal favorite is any variation of Reese’s peanut butter cups. They make them in the shape of pumpkins, which is adorable, and this year they also apparently have a glow-in-the-dark option. I’m not sure how that works exactly, but I’m intrigued.

  • Fall-themed food. Caramel apples, hot cider, pumpkin pie, cranberry cobbler, spice cookies, apple fritters, carrot cake, maple cupcakes, pecan pie, and cinnamon-flavored anything. Need I say more?

  • Fall-themed drinks. Just imagine a mug of steaming coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or hot apple cider warming your hands as you sit down for your Zoom class or curl up on the couch to watch the aforementioned spooky movies. You can get creative and add autumn creamers and spices! I’ve never tried Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, but maybe this is the year. 

starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latte Starbucks

  • Autumn activities, like visiting an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch. The orchard near where I live is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to visit to pick out some honey crisp apples, tiny pumpkins (called “sugar pumpkins”!), and some weirdly-shaped gourds. I am also particularly looking forward to engaging in a socially-distant corn maze.

  • CRUNCHY LEAVES. This one ended up low on the list but I promise it’s what I am most excited about. What’s the best feeling in the world, you ask? Crunchy leaves crunching under your boots, and when you step on that one that crunches perfectly and it’s like *crunch.* Yeah.

  • Listening to Bon Iver while staring wistfully out the window, preferably with a cup of chamomile tea in hand and an “autumn-harvest”-scented candle burning on the sill. There’s just something about Bon Iver that transports me to the perfect October mindset every time I listen.

  • Fall clothes and layers, boots, and jackets. The upcoming months are the best to dress for because you have so many options. It’s about comfiness, coziness, and feeling like you’re the main character in a dramatic indie coming-of-age film as you walk your dog around the neighborhood or drive to the grocery store for more pumpkin-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

fall boots in fall leaves with plaid pants Photo by Freestocks.org from Stocksnap

  • Lastly, looking forward to the holiday season! Anticipation and optimism for the future brings joy to the present.

I have high hopes for this fall. It will be different this year, and that’s okay. Halloween parties on-campus have turned into FaceTime get-togethers and screen-sharing movies like Coraline and Nightmare Before Christmas with friends, which is just as great. I have plans for bonfires with my family, spending time with my dog, working to stay busy, and dyeing my hair dark red just for fun. Suffice to say, I am indeed planning on making the most of  the next few months in sweats and fuzzy socks. Hopefully this list inspires some autumn appreciation and cheerfulness in the upcoming months!