Tomato trio in black and white silhouette

I read at least one newspaper every morning. Sometimes I read as many as three while I drink my coffee and enjoy the breaking day. I like to know what is going on in my community and the world, and I’m always looking for opportunities to go, do, learn, visit, and experience.

With autumn finally here (and crispy autumn weather around the corner) I’ve been scouting the papers for places to view and photograph the fall foliage. We don’t have the spectacular colors in Austin the way they do in other places in Texas, so every year Tony (my husband) and I spend at least one day admiring fall’s display. We plan our route, based on the color reports, and pack snacks and maps and we’re on our way. Fall may begin on September 22, but it doesn’t really begin for us until we’ve had our dose of fall color.

Tony and I honor this time of year in another way – by spending time and energy working in the garden and creating a new look for the new season.  In the small courtyard in our home, we have recently planted autumn-into-winter plants such as fall asters, ornamental cabbage, Mexican oregano, blue daze, marigolds, and wooly butterfly. We are always moving something or planting something new, but at least twice a year, there is a major garden renovation. When we’re through, we have a beautiful reminder that a new season is here and we are open to all its bounty.

I’ve backed into the topic of this post by telling a few stories first, but it is really about tradition and ritual. We often look to special holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas as times for recurring celebrations, but my coffee ritual, our tradition of fall leaves and planting, help us set the stage for the next step, lets us know deeply what to be ready for. As Bill Drummond said in his book, $20,000, “For me starting the day without a pot of tea would be a day forever out of kilter.” I couldn’t have said it better.

In the next few weeks (especially as you start planning your holiday events), think about your rituals – the small ones that are perhaps yours alone and the broader ones that involve friends and family. Try to decide if they all still fit in your life and sustain you. I have a friend that quit cooking Thanksgiving dinner at home, but found a wonderful restaurant to celebrate in each year with her family. This allowed her to actually enjoy the four-day weekend and not be exhausted from cooking and cleaning (she felt like shopping the day after Thanksgiving for the first time in years). Her family adjusted, when they discovered that a turkey and the fixings were available that weekend at home, just not served on the fine china in the formal dining room!

Pumpkins, candles, leaves on the ground, soups and stews, afternoons for reading and relaxation. May your fall hold all of these and more.

Happiness moment: I was visiting the Zilker Botanical Gardens on the last day of my exhibit just to check things out and plan for the removal of my 40+ pieces hanging there. I saw a car in the parking lot that looked like my son Brennan’s, but didn’t pay much attention since as far as I knew, he wasn’t planning to be there. But it was, in fact, his car! Brennan had taken his wife and three children out to see the exhibit! They all have such busy lives – I was honored that he thought this was a priority.  We had an amazing time looking at Mia’s art. Thank you Brennan for being so generous with your time.

Another new door opens: On Monday, Tony and I went to New Braunfels to enter several of my pieces in the New Braunfels Art League, Artoberfest. I found out yesterday that my pieces had been accepted and will be on display today through the 12th, with a reception this Friday. This is another example of simply saying yes to the opportunities. I look forward to meeting wonderful new people at the reception and being further inspired by others’ art!

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