Unfortunately, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted the full experience of this seasonal change, like it has interrupted many other parts of life.
Even though most students will take online classes at home and away from most seasonal recreations, it doesn’t mean that other fall delights have to be missed.
Here are some of the enjoyments that fall brings every year into our lives:
Falling into fall foliage
In New Jersey, seasonal weather patterns are very noticeable throughout the year. With harsh winters and humid summers, the milder fall and spring seasons are welcome for not needing constant heating or air conditioning.
Blue skies and autumn foliage accompany the nice weather, although I find it to be a pity how this view is now watched through my bedroom window, aside from the occasional outdoor exercise.
At college, memories of walking on the sidewalk toward my next class underneath the orange and yellow leaves are vivid in my memory. The slightly chilly air had supplemented the scent of fresh fallen leaves under my feet as I walked from the coffee shop to the library.
Thankfully, even though human activity has slowed, it does not affect the leaves’ color-changing cycle. Just like in springtime with its blooming flowers, nature retains autumn’s beauty whether there are difficult circumstances.
Get that cardigan out
People switch their shorts and tank tops in exchange for long pants and jackets for the fall season unless they can withstand the blowing wind and dropping temperatures.
Fashion may be understated this season due to the quarantine, but that’s no reason to disregard the cozy sweaters you’ve saved for this time of the year. It’s just as nice to stay inside while dressed in comfort, underneath a blanket with a warm drink in your hands. This year is a chance to dress for yourself alone, without having to worry about the choices of anyone else.
Pumpkin spice? Yes, please!
Winter holidays smell like peppermint and summer calls for refreshing watermelons and fall has its own tastes that people are familiar with.
Fall is associated with the harvest, but the two most recognizable tastes appearing within this season are pumpkin and apple. Aware of this, corporations cleverly add these in their own products to satisfy their customers’ yearly cravings for apple or pumpkin-spiced flavors, much like with Valentine’s Day chocolates.
I have to admit the effectiveness of this strategy: One of my first thoughts after acknowledging the coming of fall was, “Do I have enough on my Starbucks card for a pumpkin cream cold brew?”
Of course, the pumpkin spiced latte is also a popular drink of choice. People who love both sweet foods and fall flavors can take complete advantage with the long list of pumpkin-spiced goods that companies churn out every year: pies, loaves, muffins, cereals and even ice cream.
If anyone craves a more homemade taste and is less inclined to bake, local farms will allow them to treat themselves with their own products. When coming across a farm with an apple grove, make sure to try their apple cider and apple cider donuts if they have them!
Spooky season and time to give thanks
The holiday season is often considered to start during the month of December, but I personally feel that it begins in the fall. The cue for the start of the holiday season is when stores begin to showcase Halloween decorations and candy, and then soon after display Thanksgiving goods.
This brings out a festive mood that precedes the later months of gift-giving and winter breaks. Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year simply for the sheer fun of it, as it gives people an opportunity to dress up as any character and indulge in candy. For people who prefer to stay away from gatherings, this day permits them to celebrate without obligations.
On the other hand, Thanksgiving Day in November is specifically for coming together with friends and family to give thanks and enjoy a delicious meal. The on-going pandemic situation forbids these types of large-scale gatherings, but it is sufficient to have smaller celebrations among household members.
The transition from hot summer to a temperate fall signifies the coming of a fresh new academic year, and fall just isn't completely the same without being on a school campus.
People can still appreciate this season with its many other aspects: orange leaves, pumpkins and Halloween decorations. These features alone can’t complete the entire experience with the nostalgic sentimentality of previous fall seasons, but it may teach people to appreciate this season in a different way than before.