Most people celebrate the New Year on January 1st. I do celebrate then too, but it is September 1st, that is the true New Year’s Day for me. I think it has something to do with loving school and learning. When I was kid, I adored getting a new dress for the first day of school, and shoes of course. I would have preferred shiny, black patent-leather Mary Janes, but mostly I got brown and white saddle shoes.
Then there were the new pencils with a special box to keep them in, along with erasers in tiny animal shapes. A notebook, very sturdy, and whatever else I could talk my mother into, made it an exciting time of year. Almost as good as Christmas! There were no ipads, ipods, or computers back then. But what I did have, I loved and treasured.
For me, September and fall, means it’s time to get serious. Gone are the frilly salad days of summer. Now I tend toward more substantial things, like hearty soups and stews. A pot roast simmering away in the slow cooker is cause to celebrate, along with pumpkin or apple pie, and at breakfast, bowls of steaming oatmeal, with plain yogurt, walnuts, raisins and honey … sometimes I throw in an over-ripe banana.
It’s time for sweaters. Turtlenecks and over-sized bulky cardigans that I can wrap myself in on a cold autumn day, as I rustle my way through the dense carpet of leaves gathering on the ground. Socks are cozy and my footwear of choice inside the house. No slippers, just socks, thick, colorful, and the crazier the design the better.
It’s still warm here, but the nights are cooling down as the days shorten. My sleep is deeper, and throughout the fall and winter, I love sleeping with a window slightly ajar, snuggled up in wool blankets, only my nose showing, to breathe in crisp air, lightly scented with wood smoke. That’s heaven in my book.
And speaking of books, it’s the time of year when I do the most reading. The stack of reading material next to my chair tends to grow and I often find myself reading 3 books at once, going from one to another, as my mood changes. That is getting a bit frustrating though, as I try to unlearn my multitasking habits. So I’ll narrow it down to two books. One to read during the day, usually something I’m interested in learning about and don’t want to doze off while I’m reading. For the evenings, I like something a bit lighter that I can easily find my way back to, after it’s fallen out of my hands to the floor as sleep overtakes me.
This year, I’ve enrolled in three classes that will start later in the month. I’ve chosen two through the UVA Ollie program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), Writing your Life and The Examined Life, as a way to keep me writing and getting feedback on what I’ve been pouring out on to paper. They each meet once a week for 6 weeks.
My herbalist, is offering an 8 week class in Ayurveda, an ancient way of taking care of oneself, from India. We will learn about its history, and how to apply it to live a healthy life style. Part yoga, food prep, and discussion, it will help me as I continue to try to keep myself from becoming what I call, a rocking chair granny. I want to leave this planet moving, not sitting on my front porch watching the world go by.
I am risking my sanity a bit, I suppose. My time is pretty much spoken for through the fall and I worry some about having time for making art. But I’m very excited about the learning I will be doing. I intend to keep up a regular exercise routine and putter about the garden as well. If I can keep the overwhelm and I have to do everything parts of myself under control it should be a great time. I do expect a visit from one or both of these companions from time to time, but it seems to get easier as I continue to set my limits, listen to my body, and understanding that I am not going for a PhD.