BY JEAN MARIE JOHNSON
Fall. If it isn’t my favorite season, it is undoubtedly a very close second. The garden put to rest for the season, I turn my creative attention inside – to home, hearth, and to tackling the big reading, like The Canterbury Tales. It’s been decades since I’ve picked up that lively tome, and now, as a most unusual year comes to an end, I feel the urge to resume my travels with those colorful characters. Having put on hold my plans to return to the Northeast for my sister’s milestone birthday and later, for our annual family Christmas party, I am focusing on how I can capture the feeling and cultivate the seasonal joy right where I am. Oh, and just a heads-up: I’m not waiting for an anchor like the fall equinox or Halloween to permit myself to stem the tides of my creative expression. Nope. I am starting right now and jumping right in by embracing the transitional.
Transition Your Wardrobe
One lesson I learned soon after moving to the South is that the thermometer often defies the calendar. That meant acquiring lighter-weight clothing that still looked seasonal by virtue of color and pattern.
In late August, inspired by the crisp 63-degree mornings, I began transitioning my wardrobe, weeding out the perky summer items I’d consign or donate next year. With that space freed up, I moved the autumnal palette to the forefront. Hello deep mauve, warm pumpkin, chocolate brown, and passionate plum. As a Capricorn, you have no idea how much I love the moody sultriness of your hues! Next, I pulled out my collection of vintage brooches. This unique assortment of colors and shapes makes a seasonal appearance by adding whimsy to my jeans jacket or a fall blazer. It will come as no surprise that on the matter of fashion, I encourage you to make your own rules. Wear those cool white jeans with those black booties and big black sweater. While you are at it, go out there and sparkle with five vintage brooches on your lapel instead of a hum-hum, solitary one. Take one small step forward into your own style authenticity, and you are unlikely to look back!
Transition Your Home
Style isn’t only about how you dress yourself. It is also about how you “dress” your home and your life. For me, the transition to autumn means paying close attention to nature’s changes. As summer slips into fall, I become a focused gatherer. Goldenrod by the side of the road? Oh yes! Acorns, bird feathers, and unusual branches all make their way into my home, inching out summer’s lighthearted arrangements. Of course, I’ve been scouting the estate sales and thrift shops for months, happily acquiring an eclectic assortment of pine green votives, pumpkin-colored tapers, and stout cranberry candles. Getting ready is so much a part of the fun! Soon I will replace the light matelassé bed cover with a heavier version and throw on a brick orange merino wool blanket for seasonal warmth, not to mention drama! And while cooking is not high on my list of favorite activities, eating most definitely is. That means running through my collection of favorite recipes and “tagging” my seasonal top ten. For me, this always includes pumpkin turkey chili, roasted vegetables, and cranberry-glazed salmon, amongst others.
I will relish this season of transition for what it offers me: a moment in time to acknowledge and celebrate … this moment in time. I know full-well that soon enough, long after the pumpkins are gone and the tinsel has been packed away, my head and heart will turn to another transition of seasons. Hopefully, I will have finished my sojourn with The Canterbury Tales by then. But if not, I will know that I did not squander this beautiful moment in time.