Deborah Rose column: Autumn will look different, but can teach us much

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media

It was one particular day about two or three weeks ago when I first noticed autumn was knocking on our door.

The air was different when I stepped outside. I took a deep breath in, exhaled and smiled.

It was as if a switch flipped inside me, signaling the start of something wonderful again, as if I were meeting a long lost friend.

Autumn officially started Sept. 22. I’ve always associated the start of fall with the month of October, though, probably because that’s when colors kick into high gear in our neck of the woods.

We are now heading into the time when the lush green leaves on trees that shaded us from summer’s heat transition into red, orange, yellow, gold and rust, mirroring the metamorphosis many of us experience personally as we prepare for shorter days, cooler temperatures and a landscape that eventually appears as if it is void of life.

Autumn will look familiar, I’m sure, given the color changes. But it may feel a little different, as many of the traditional fall events have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving us hungry for some sense of normalcy.

We may not be able to attend fall festivals, fairs and other special events that raised funds for various organizations, but we can continue to enjoy the outdoors.

We can take hikes, go apple picking, find our way through a corn maze, be a kid again and play in a pile of leaves, and enjoy the season’s harvest.

Inside, we can make applesauce, drink cider, carve pumpkins, make pies and cookies, and find creative crafts to do.

We can still connect with family and friends, even with social distancing measures in place. Think phone and virtual visits, which will certainly be important for upcoming holidays, especially Thanksgiving.

There is no doubt that this is an unusual time in our lives on many levels. In modern times, we’ve never experienced a pandemic such as this.

Everything is different: school, business, entertainment, social interaction and so much more.

We continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance to slow the spread of the virus.

All that and the state of our country is fragile. Its future is at stake come Nov. 3.

It can feel overwhelming and confining. Even grim.

Enter autumn. Nature is about to shed its skin in a magnificent display of color, a reminder of the profound cycle that occurs around us year after year.

We can count on the leaves to change color and fall to the ground. We can be assured the eventual bare limbs and boughs will catch snowflakes. We can trust that buds will again sprout and leaves will dress the trees all around us in green beauty come spring.

That cycle is comforting. Autumn reminds us that we, too, have the ability to let go and bloom again, that we can be restored.

Deborah Rose is a lifelong New Milford resident who has worked at The Spectrum since its inception in 1998. She can be reached by email at