Autumn is my favourite time of year, and I think I love the shift from summer to autumn most of all. The days are warm and mild but the mornings and evenings are darker and colder; I feel justified in wearing snuggly slippers and lighting candles, and called to bed earlier each night. I’ve found that my energy, which takes a dip over the hazy, melty summer months, suddenly comes back to me, all new ideas and crisp blank pages to match the crisp leaves outside.
I talk about rhythm a lot, and it’s been interesting for me to note my own seasonal rhythms. At the end of each summer, I observe myself doing the same things each year: ordering candles, cleaning, making plans, spending longer stretches of outside again. I’ve noticed that I expand outwards in spring and autumn, and pull inwards during summer and winter. My energy ebbs and flows, and with it my need to socialise, read, create, grow.
I’m not sure what this season will look like in this world under Covid. I’m cautiously hoping for the best – a small number of gallery trips, Frida back at her childminder for a morning a week, taking short bus rides again, welcoming friends into our home for playdates (and dinner parties? please?!) – whilst steeling myself for a potential worst-case of lockdown and isolation.
Something which is helping me to both feel prepared and full of anticipation is working through my seasonal to do list. I thought I’d share, in case anyone reading is feeling similarly torn between making plans and nesting at home.
On my end of summer to do list:
- Bring out all of our autumn books. I’m especially looking forward to re-reading Christopher’s Garden which is just the loveliest book for the transition from summer to autumn – we read it on repeat last year – but I’m also looking forward to greeting our old favourites Apple Cake / Autumn Story / The Pumpkin Soup series / this beautiful version of Goldilocks / It Starts With A Seed (this is actually a beautiful illustrated poem) / Flower Fairies of the Autumn / The Foxwood Treasure (which has the best opening line of any autumnal book I’ve ever read – if you like Brambly Hedge, try and pick up The Foxwood Treasury or The Foxwood Collection second hand!), and so many more. DONE.
- Put together a new autumn playlist for Frida (you can listen to it here). DONE.
- Stock up on beeswax candles (I usually buy from Bermondsey Bees or The Future Kept, but I needed to buy some new dish brushes so I ordered from Objects of Use). DONE.
- Refresh Frida’s stationary and art materials as necessary, and order any last books we need. DONE.
- Loosely plan out some home education ideas – science experiments, art projects, books to read together, materials for learning languages side-by-side – to offer Frida over the coming weeks. We don’t push anything onto her or force her to do anything (we believe wholly in consent-based education) but I’ve also found that we both thrive if I bring some ideas to the table. DONE
- Writing out some favourite autumn verses for morning time. DONE
- Re-working our rhythm to create a daily and weekly autumn rhythm for our family. DONE. (You can read about our rhythm last year when Frida was four here and when she was three here – time really is cruel, hey?).
- Start populating my new diary and planner (I far prefer September-August to January-December). IN PROGRESS.
- Deep clean and declutter the house. This is probably my least appealing task on the list, but I love the feeling of a cozy, tidy home on a freezing cold morning. I include here re-painting the numerous grubby spots on the walls, washing rugs / blankets, and doing toy rotation. IN (SLOW!) PROGRESS.
- Buy cold-weather essentials where needed – tights, jumpers, wooly socks and slippers for me and Frida, new wellies and raincoat for her, new coats for us both (as moths have destroyed ours from last year – so frustrating. No wool for us this year! I’m still searching for a coat for me…). I still need to order gloves for Frida, and a winter hat for myself, and then we’ll be done. IN PROGRESS.
- Order bulbs to plant for next spring, going heavy on the tulips and alliums, and make a list of autumn gardening jobs. Stock up on bird seed. TO DO.
- Write out a list of quick autumn suppers to keep close to hand for days when I’m lacking in inspiration. Lots of roasted root veg, apple crumbles, and soups will feature! I’m awaiting my eagerly preordered copy of Home Cookery Year (out very soon) before I begin. TO DO.
Although this sounds like a lot, I’ve found that this little flurry of activity allows me to fully relax into enjoying my very favourite time of the year, especially as we head into a new year of home educating, and I dig into some exciting work projects which I hope to share soon.
PS. My course Rhythm in the Home is now self-paced with monthly Q&A sessions, so you can join and start working on your family rhythms right away! And if you use the code “autumnrhythm” you’ll get 15% off until September 3rd.