Monday, October 21, 2013

The Challenge of Autumn

I love Fall. I was born for the crispness of "October's bright blue weather." I love the brightly colored changing leaves, apple cider, pumpkins, even going back in the house to grab a jacket. I appreciate each of the seasons for their good qualities, but there is just something about Fall. It speaks to me.

On the other hand, Fall is not without its challenges. Fall means going back to school for all three of us. And with that comes all of the other commitments that are tied in with the academic year: Peabody Chorus, Bell Choir, college gigs, band events, and so on. Lesson planning, preparing workshops for other teachers, doing homework and more homework--that's what happens at our house when Fall comes to town.

It gets cooler, and it gets darker. On chilly, cloudy days I find my moods sinking and my spirit longing for sunlight. It's all fun and games in the pumpkin patch when the sun is shining. But it doesn't last.

That shifting towards darker days is the biggest challenge of Autumn for me. It eats away at a sense of well-being. It can happen quite slowly. I find myself feeling a vague sense of unease for quite some time before I realize what is happening. I am drinking more coffee, eating more sweets, and yet still feeling more tired.

That's when I break out the "happy light." It's a special light made by Verilux made to lessen the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. As I sit and write each morning, I'll put on some music and bask in its brightness. And after a few days I begin to feel a bit more normal. It may start with realizing I don't need a bag of cookies in the car, or making a list of new ideas for the blog or for student lessons. I begin to craft again, or try a new recipe.

Fall is both a wild party and celebration of everything living, and yet a farewell party, too. Trees push off their leaves in order to survive the months ahead. Animals repond instinctively by gathering up food, growing warmer coats, or leaving town altogether. I find myself want to wrap myself up, disengage and hibernate.

The challenge of Fall for me is to stay engaged. It sneaks up on me every year. This morning I woke up and had that "aha!" moment.

Time to shed some light on my morning.


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