We've had a gentle autumn here on the west coast, which has helped me surrender to the fact that summer is gone. Amber tones and crisp leaves, golden shadows and earthy scents arrive to envelope the senses with a new season. We embrace warmth to comfort ourselves, wrapped in cozy knits and scarves as we venture out into the atmosphere of fall. I find the outdoors beckon to us more fervently just before a winter of dormancy lies ahead.
While I've never been drawn to the traditional burnt orange harvest tones, I do love the soft honey and caramel colours that start to show this time of year. The surprise of mauve on leaves speckled with dusty greys, the periwinkle skies when the sun sits low and hits you with a bright beam of light that warms you for an instant for a deepening chill.
Walks to the beach become walks to the countryside, pumpkins, petting the soft muzzles of farm animals, sweet fir and cedar and damp earth creating an aromatic elixir as we stomp in boots along a country path.
I made my first pie of the season, and it felt so good to push my fingers into dough, to smell the warm aroma of baking apples and sweet spices, and to connect to the simple mindful task of baking that always grounds me. I even made a single rustic apple tart just for myself, that I baked in parchment and brought to my shop as a special treat!
Images of maple leaves surfaced everywhere in social media as us Canadians became atypically patriotic on an an election day that brought the hope of change to our beautiful nation.
In my boutique I decided just to embrace all the seasons. Winter white wool pumpkins arrived, so delightful in their simple charm I smiled from ear to ear as I unpackaged them. Yet the sun was still shining. I thought 'must I really replace the seashells with autumnal and festive displays?'
I realized the birds nests, seashells, coral and the pumpkins, could all live beautifully together for they shared a soft soothing palette that brought them all together. So I honoured the ever turning cycle of all the seasons and the motifs we associate with them.
On the last Sunday of October I had the pleasure of lunch in a beautiful home in Horseshoe Bay, not far from where I grew up, with of an old friend from another time in my life. Over a lovely meal we chatted about my days in Paris, about design, lifestyle, and of course as women do, love and relationships.
While enjoying beautifully prepared simple tastes and textures, I could not help but be captivated by the charming settings throughout the home. Kale arranged elegantly in a silver vessel amongst candle sticks on a table. Antique linens causally draped on an armoire. Geri always had a beautiful eye and indeed she influenced my own design sensibilities years ago.
As we said or goodbyes in the garden courtyard, visited by hummingbirds and blue jays, I remarked on her magnolia tree. I have always loved these flowering trees and now they hold more sentimental meaning for me. I lost a dear friend on the Autumn solstice this September, and at his memorial I learned the magnolia was his favorite as well. A brilliant artist gone too soon, when I look upon the tones of Autumn I will always think of him and his paintings (detail below) that captured all the rich amber tones of this earth so beautifully. The turning of the seasons do remind us of the cycle of life in all stages, including the sad losses and difficult lessons of letting go.
So with my heart and mind full of the symbols and sentiments of the day, I was eager to make the most of an unusually still warm weather and walked with my mum out to Whytecliff Park not far from my childhood home. The dry season we'd had, coupled with prior windy days have provided for a never ending sea of maple leaves upon the ground. I was startled by a tide higher than I'd ever seen at this beach I knew so well. There is a special little island out at the park that has a path of stones like a tail that acts as a bridge for adventurers to cross upon. But this day there was no trace of stones peeking above the the sea.
Logs that must've settled on the beach for years were all afloat, freed, drifting about the shoreline and the wee island looked as if from another time another land, surrounded by a protective moat. All of this added up to quite a spectacular scene, and as I turned to walk back home I caught a peek a boo vista of all these elements brought together.
The result was a moment in time I captured in an otherworldly dreamy image. What stuck me about it all is, that just before happening upon that so familiar scene that suddenly felt so mysterious and magical, I had just had a personal aha moment. About seeing something in a different way, and embracing it with a new perspective. Perhaps it was the beckoning full moon and rare high tide, the visit with someone from my past, and an endearing walk amongst old childhood stomping grounds that all allowed for a shift in my thinking. And so, while I do not surrender easily into fall, I vowed to embrace all the seasons, for the special gifts they bring to me. To see things in a new way. And to allow myself to be touched by Autumns tender embrace.