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The Artists's Date: Autumn Edition

The autumn season is chock-full of inspiration. Most people I know can generally agree on this. Where I live, there's a distinct sense of change everywhere. The weather cools, night comes earlier and earlier. The leaves go up in a flame of red, orange and yellow. Halloween comes with it's parade of whimsy and theater (and candy). AND we still have Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to.


Opportunities for the creative lightening to strike abound, but if you find that your inspiration needs a little nudge, I've got here 8(ish) ideas for a seasonal date night with your Muse.


1. Collect fallen leaves.

If you live someplace where deciduous trees lose their leaves every year, then you know what a gorgeous spectacle the leafy strip tease can be. The scarlet, gold, tangerine and merlot hues produced by an otherwise unassuming oak or maple tree can be astonishing! With canary yellow leaves on the ground, and in the trees, the local forests seem to glow with otherworldly light!

If you can, get out and view the autumnal kaleidoscope. And if you can't, you can still take note of all the different shapes, textures, and colors of the fallen leaves in your neighborhood. There's so much diversity we overlook when they're still green and on the branches.



2. Get thee to a harvest festival, pumpkin patch, or farmer's market.

I don't know about you, but I find the farmer's market to be a cornucopia of inspiration any time of year. In the fall especially, the bevy of colors, the delicious smells, the fabulous tastes, and interesting people never fail to leave me inspired! Maybe they're roasting nuts or making kettle corn. Maybe there are 12 kinds of apple varieties you've never heard of before. Maybe you can glimpse the largest pumpkin grown in the county this year. You won't know till you go!



3.Bake something seasonal.

Speaking of giant pumpkins, why not indulge in some of the flavors of the season? Whether or not you're a fan of pumpkin spice, you can turn on the oven and bake something! Pull out old family recipes and try your hand at Aunt Opal's pumpkin bread. Have you ever made a pumpkin pie before? With a real, not-from-a-can pumpkin? Put on your apron and give it a try! There are so many feelings and memories that home baking can bring up-plus, you get dessert afterward.



4. Stir the pot.

While we're in the kitchen, why not whip up a bubbling cauldron- er, pot of your favorite soup? Don't have a favorite? Try out new recipes until you do! There's a real alchemy involved in soup making. Adding ingredients in just the right amounts, a hint of this, a touch of that, secret herbs and spices, the bubbling, the simmering- and finally, Voila! Soup!



5. Go to a football game.

Support a local high school or college team. It's a fun, weird, community event with a pageantry and magic all its own. Not into the game? Me neither. Grab a hot dog. People-watch. It's an anthropological wonderland of parents, coaches, cheerleaders, marching band musicians, and people-watching weirdos just like you.




6. Invite friends over for a bonfire.

Summer bonfires are great, but the autumn bonfire is a whole different animal. When night falls at 4:30 pm and the damp chill can send your teeth chattering, a giant, glowing fireball in the back yard creates a certain kind of magic. S'mores optional (but encouraged).


7. Get into the garden!

What? Yes. Even as the hydrangeas have turned brown and crunchy, many of our favorite spring blooms are best planted in the fall. I just love the metaphor of planting our hopes for the coming year, even when we have winter still to get through. Do the work now, and be rewarded with colorful blooms in the spring!

This is also a great opportunity to get out and really look at the autumn garden. Yes, it's often brown and crunchy, but there's a certain kind of beauty in the scraggly stems and leaves, the droopy dried flower heads, and the seed-filled pods.



8. Go through your old photo albums.

So, once upon a time, photos used to be printed out on paper, and some people would collect these scraps of paper and put them in books. If you have access to such vestiges of the past, get them out! Flip through old memories and family photos. Reminisce about those beach vacations, childhood birthdays, or family reunions. Maybe you have photos of family members you never met. Maybe there are photos of friends and family who have passed on. How amazing that we can still look at their faces.

Don't have a photo album? Hit up your grandparents, aunts and uncles, or someone else who does. Or, perhaps it's time you started your own? Try this old ritual of printing out paper photos yourself! Scrapbooking can be fun.


So, what do you think? Do you have any ideas for an autumn-inspired Artist's Date?/ What inspires you in the fall?

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