Autumn Afternoons

Photography is not a pastime I generally partake in, especially when going about my day full of classes and activities. When traveling to new locations, I feel that sense of wonder at the simplest of sights, even when a similar sight is prevalent at home. But when I’m busy in the hustle of an average college student’s week, I’m moving and thinking at a pace that overlooks my familiar surroundings.

But what happens when we adjust our perspective of the mundane, average setting we’ve grown accustomed to, and admired it as if we ourselves are tourists? The changing of seasons seems like quite an appropriate time to try this out.

Although it was an assignment for class to take some photos, I stepped outside the classroom and immediately saw inspiration. Despite my university’s ongoing homecoming week (which, my lack of school spirit has no opinion about), a decent opportunity to capture some shots, I immediately pulled out my phone and went to work. I’m sure most of the students walking past to their afternoon classes were puzzled by me, standing in the middle of the sidewalk or in a patch of grass in the parking lot on a cloudy September day.

I’ve truly grown to love this time of year. I used to be much more of a spring person, but autumn and winter have become my go-to. But the seasons in the year that embody transition come with a newly found sense of transition within ourselves. We are of equal beauty as the trees and animals we pass every day, and we too experience the cycle of life and death inevitable for living organisms.

When we see trees becoming bare and weather forecasts becoming dreary, it’s easy to feel death inside ourselves. Sadness in what feels like an end. We can go from this angle and be downright miserable about summer ending and falling into a pit of bitterness over what is unavoidable.

We go through these emotions ourselves on a regular basis. Maybe we’re working on projects and trying to accomplish goals, but once we finish those, we lose a sense of purpose. We might grow distant from people we held dearly months earlier. The key word here is loss: focusing on death and ending and wanting nothing more than to reverse time to relive what has gone.

Yes, this is an option. But really, what is death is simply a chance for regrowth. For new moments to blossom. For new connections to kindle. Death is the antithesis is life, but one could not coexist without the other. So we might as well embrace it, celebrate it even. Take autumn for example. You can’t go swimming or sunbathing for another year, but can we talk about how wonderful warm beverages feel and taste, wrapping your hands around a toasty mug and feeling the steam bathe your face in coziness? Or snuggling up in a blanket with a good book in hand while a rainstorm brews outside? Or finally pulling out your flannels and sweaters, and thinking about the holidays just around the bend?

Obviously I get pumped up, but I think this mentality and excitement for life should apply to anything. We are in a constant cycle of certain things coming and going. With the end of one thing, inevitably a new experience is bound to takes it place. Or what feels like an eon since talking to someone or doing something can return out of the blue and seem like no time passed at all. That’s the beauty of nature, of life.

I hope you take inspiration from these words and my photos below to find peace and joy in the coming autumn and in whatever life is currently bringing and removing. There is a time and purpose for everything. We can choose to welcome that reality or reject it. But what might seem downright dreadful right now could turn into the greatest blessing. Hold onto that.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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