The fall season is a favorite of mine. This year, it’s a balance of joy and struggle. The pandemic, a guest that has worn out its welcome, makes it more complicated. The anticipation of this week’s federal election fogs my joy, too. I feel the stress of wondering about the results, the response of leaders, the response of Americans, and the responsibility of the media to be patient with reporting results. You might be feeling all that, too. But, hey, what’s a little more uncertainty? After all, it is 2020. When all I want to do is curl up with a cozy blanket in a fall chill, I feel the weight of our current circumstances that leave me cold in a different way.
I do love autumn, but I have to get creative this year and not give up on the joy. What are you doing this fall to enjoy the season? Here are some of my favorite activities lately.
While at my desk, sometimes I sit virtually by the river to enjoy the calming sound and beautiful fall color while working, using the YouTube video below.
We enjoy a simple cup of hot tea in the evenings, a November ritual that gets interrupted by hot cocoa once December comes.
To cut back on all my computer screen time these days with working remotely, I went old school and ordered actual paper magazines. Remember print magazines? Do you still read physical magazines?
I enjoy watching Hallmark movies with an autumn setting. The sets of those movies are always beautiful.
My college football team did not play for the first half of the season. Fortunately, the Big 10 did start their schedule on October 24. I hope it works out safely for all the teams.
Some days are like a scavenger hunt for contentment, to find a centering joy not dependent on what life looked like before. Fall is a favorite time and I want to keep that feeling. Lets’ not give up. I want to look back and feel like we made the most of it, in spite of the limits and heartache of separation from loved ones.
Although cloudy moods can set in, and that is natural, many days have sweet encouragement in simple things, including these for example.
This fall will not be the same. We must shift expectations. I love how some friends have taken road trips to find fall color and beauty. Following their inspiration, we can choose to be OK and get through it, making the most of it. Then we can look back on it to see it worked out after all. Maybe not without disappointment, but hopefully still with joy.
What are your November or autumn rituals or plans? Can you still do those even in a pandemic? Where will you have to get creative? What will Thanksgiving look for you this year?
Labor Day is here. We’ve watched time pass for nearly six months, along with other holidays including St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and now Labor Day. In my area of the country, we are still restricted since the transmission rate remains too high. I was reflecting back to when this started in March. I assumed we’d miss out on one or possibly two holidays. I cannot believe we are now at Labor Day without much change.
My memories of holidays and celebrations from previous years and familiar traditions fill my 2020 heart. That will have to do. Up until this pandemic, I held to the expectation that these annual holidays would always be enjoyed in familiar ways. Now I don’t know what to think, but I hope and pray we don’t hit another spike in a few weeks following this weekend. Being cautious and careful now will help so much, and move us off the state watch list sooner rather than later.
On top of the pandemic this Labor Day weekend, we are in a season of conflict and conspiracy surrounding so much of our American life. I never imagined there would even be such disagreement on the values so key to who we are as Americans. Concepts of freedom, liberty, and justice don’t just decorate a holiday plate anymore. They are often clouded by debate that I never imagined.
Hopefully we will dodge another holiday weekend transmission spike and do better than we did following Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July weekend. Hopefully we will find ways to find unity in all the conflict. Sometimes it feels like siblings are fighting, breaking the house rules, we all get grounded for it, and have to stay home longer.
With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas up next, I make no claims to know what to expect, and cling to hopes that at least some of the favorite elements can still be a part of those seasons. Plus, we have an important election in that timeframe too. It will be an interesting ride all the way through to New Year’s Eve for sure.
In the meantime, let’s relax, make the most of it, and be grateful for the blessings we do have buried in the challenges. Not much changes for us. We usually spend the weekend at home working on projects and then grill good food. Only the heat is slowing down those activities.
I look forward to raising a glass in a toast to a happier 2021! And cheers to a happy Labor Day for you! Tell me your Labor Day plans and what is different this year for you.
Stay patient, my friends.
Additional Note: Please continue to keep others in your thoughts and prayers, volunteer if you can, and continue to financially and on social media support organizations equipped to address the needs, for those among us who…
Are battling or impacted by all the acres of wild fires
Do not have shelter
Do not have access to air conditioning
Are serving those with CoVid, either family or professionals
Are struggling with food insecurity
Are looking for work
Need health care
Live in an abusive home situation
Feel isolated, anxious, and/or depressed
Experience fear due to disparity in treatment by those who are in power