• Marilyn Gardner Woods

A*U*T*U*M*N arrives...

Bookended by Labor Day and the holiday season, Autumn is here. The Turning of the season, although we scarcely notice in Southern California. At times I struggle to handle end of summer feelings gracefully. There is such comfort in summertime. Yoko Ono said, “Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.”


There is an exuberance as the season shifts and longer days give way to the crispness of shorter ones. No longer the lazy hazy days of summer, but an antsi-ness for action. An energy. Excitement. Ebullience.



Autumn in Bavaria. Wassily Kandinsky, 1908


A is for Abundance, A feeling of being Alive. An urge for Action as schools are in session and we hustle towards the holidays and the end of yet another year.

A is also for Art. Many Artists painted Autumn scenes—Monet, Klimt, Hopper, Courbet, and Vincent to name a few. My favorite this season is Autumn in Bavaria painted by Wassily Kandinsky in 1908. Although he had painted expressionistic landscapes before, with this, he would transcend it further into pure Abstraction than ever before.

U is for a bit of Upheaval as summer brights give way to rich hues of fall. An Unknown writer penned, “The trees are about to show how lovely it is to let things go.” Al fresco dining Under the stars is replaced by cozy movie nights in front of the TV (no problem if it’s the Umpteenth time you’ve watched it), and the scents of roses gardens diminish replaced by the Unmistakable woodsy, smoky, spicy smells of the season. The Ultimate excuse for a nature hike.


T is for Touchdown signaling football season. Temperatures gradually drop. The Time change occurs most places on November 6. TV gets good again. Trick or Treat fun ahead. Wild Turkey swilling in the snifter in front of a smoldering fire perhaps.

T is for Tantalizing colors of the falling leaves. According to The Encyclopedia of Superstitions, there's a popular belief that "as many falling leaves as can be caught in the hand in autumn, so many happy months will follow."


U is for unfathomable—the amount of wool, tartan, houndstooth, cashmere, and furry stuff that fills store windows and internet shopping sites. Ubiquitous. Sweater weather Unbelievable because currently, the temperature in my world is high 70’s, low 80’s and will stay that way through October. Many Thanksgivings here – dress code shorts. But there are those of you bracing for Unpredictable weather thinking storm windows and big pots of chili with an Umbrella and perhaps some long Underwear at hand!


M is for Mmmmm—the satisfied Murmur we make repeatedly in the autumn season over pumpkin spice lattes, apple pies, salted caramel (oh wait…that’s good any season), and comfort food. Time for large and lavish Meals where friends and family gather.

And Music. Classics like Ella’s “Autumn in New York,” and the Melancholy “Autumn Leaves,” (either Frank’s or Nat King Cole’s version), and The Mamas and Papas “California Dreamin’.” Me, I’m partial to the soft brushstrokes of Neil Young’s voice singing the most romantic “Harvest Moon.”

“We know where the Music's playin' Let's go out and feel the night…”

And M is of course for Moon. Hope you are suitably awed by one of autumn’s full Moons this year.


N is for nesting. In Autumn, I experience a deep pull toward home. The fireplace setting the cozy interior aglow. Surrounded by art and music, good books. Family and Neighbors nearby. There is great comfort in Nestling into the safe space I call home during these, the ember months.

Also, a Nostalgia. A sentimental yearning for things past.

And Next. A wonder about what comes Next.


How do you spell AUTUMN?



"Autumn... the year's last, loveliest smile."

William Cullen Bryant



The ember months…click here for last year's post if you don't know about the Ember Months.


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