I’m not a fan of The Sound of Music. I know. As a musical theatre fan (notice I spelled it “theatre” and not “theater” – you know I’m a fan now), it is simply not done to say that you don’t like The Sound of Music. It’s like movie buffs hating Gone with the Wind or art history students shrugging their shoulders at the Pieta. Nope, everybody likes TSoM.
Except me. Well, I have to take that back partially – I like the song My Favorite Things. Oh yeah, I know it has been done to death, from everyone from Tony Bennett to The Supremes to Dionne Warwick to Miles Davis. But I still like it. Maybe because my sister used it as an audition piece when she was a little kid trying out for a musical or maybe just because I too like whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens. I don’t know. But in any event, I like it because it takes ordinary, everyday things and elevates them to remarkable.
In a world often gone mad (by the way, movie trailer voice over artist Don LaFontaine just died, hence the dramatic beginning to this paragraph), sometimes it is only the simple things that make me feel grounded. I can’t change the big stuff (not by myself, surely) but I can notice and remark on the small stuff, the stuff that makes life…well, life.
So, some things that I really enjoy about the beginning of autumn:
I love how the mornings are crisp but you can feel the heat of the sun coming through the nip in the air. It reminds me of some fun weekends in Whistler, BC or strolling around the streets of Leavenworth, WA.
Sweaters come back from the corners of the closet and there is something comforting about a good sweater. No horizontal stripes though, please.
Apples taste better – especially Jonathans, hot chocolate with whipped cream seems more appropriate and piles of knobby ornamental gourds start to appear in grocery stores. Good applesauce, warm zucchini bread and homemade mac n’ cheese with slices of polska kielbasa – all things I like in the fall.
The smell of wood fires when it gets dark and that wonderfully toxic “new plastic” smell that can only be found on good Halloween masks. Lighting candles on my mantle, listening to moodier music (Loreena McKennitt and Kate Rusby are good celtic-style favs) and bringing out the photo albums.
I like that summer is still around but not as hot around the edges. Cool mornings, sunny days but shorter all the while, the windows still open but quiet without all those breeze boxes and fans going all night. Socks start returning, as do sleeves and even the occasional afghan for nights on the sofa.
It might not be brown paper packages tied up with string, but ordinary can be quite dandy, actually. I know that this particular autumn will be consumed with all the political drama of the presidential race, but taking just a few moments to appreciate the simple things seems especially timely right now.