Happy first day of Fall!

Not exactly my favorite season, but not dead last either (that would be winter!)

Can’t argue with Snoopy.  Enjoy!

Happy-Autumn-First-Day-of-Fall-Snoopy-Dog-Picture

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12 reasons why I don’t like autumn.

Welp, it’s almost that time of year again. Admittedly, it’s not bothering me as much this year. But please, shut up already about Pumpkin Spice, which ought to be illegal.

Lucky Otters Haven

ugly_autumnIn my neck of the woods, this is what Autumn looks like.

Yesterday was the first cool-ish day we’ve had since May.   While the lower temperature felt nice, I also noticed for the first time that some of the trees are beginning to change colors.  It was also overcast and gloomy, and I realized that my SAD symptoms have kicked in full bore.   I just felt like crawling into bed to escape from the sadness I felt.   After winter, fall is my least favorite season.   Here are 12 reasons why I hate it.

1.  Around here, the “changing colors” just means the trees change from green to brown to bare.  A few turn this unattractive shade of deep maroon or this dirty looking yellow, but unless you go up to the Parkway, we really don’t get the brilliant fall colors you see in places further north…

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Trying to appreciate fall.

fallleaves

Appreciating fall isn’t easy for me.   It’s my worst time of year and when my SAD is at its worst.   I find fall depressing, for reasons I’ve already discussed in this post.

Most of the trees around here aren’t very pretty in the fall.   In my part of the country, we don’t get too many of the brilliant fall colors that so many people crow on endlessly about. Every year, no matter what the summer weather has been like, the trees change from green to dull brown or sometimes this ugly shade of maroon and finally to bare.   It’s a depressing sight, and I’m not a fall holiday sort of person at all so that doesn’t make up for anything.   I don’t see what the big deal is about pumpkins and why everyone gets so excited about them.   They’re just an overgrown squash and nearly inedible too.  (Gourds are a little better because they’re more interesting looking).

My dislike of fall is weird because during my teens and 20s, fall was actually my favorite season.   I don’t know when this began to change.  I also don’t remember what I liked so much about it.  Maybe I never really did, and just convinced myself I loved fall because all my friends did and liking fall was considered much cooler than liking spring.  Only old people liked spring best.  Or so it seemed at the time.  But I really am kind of old now, so I don’t have to feel guilty about liking spring best anymore.

I’m trying to like fall.   I really am.   The weather is pleasant, at least through early November (then it’s all downhill).   We do have a few colorful maples here and there.   There are actually quite a few at the shopping center where I was this morning (probably planted there on purpose for their colors).    I decided to pick up a few of the fallen leaves that are actually showing pretty colors and arranged them on a black velvet pillow for this picture.

This coming Friday, October 21, the foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway will be at its peak, and I’ve taken the day off work anyway, so I plan to drive up there and just try to appreciate the fall scenery and spend some time in nature before the dreary November rains come and finally winter is once again upon us.

8 good things about fall.

pumpkin_patch

Alright, fine.  I hate fall (see my last post), but it does have a few redeeming traits.  I can name them on one hand plus three fingers.  See?  I can be fair.

  1.  The end of flea season.  If you’re a pet owner, you know exactly why this is important. Especially if you’re sensitive to their bites, the way I am.
  2. No more blisteringly hot, humid, days that make you feel like you’re covered in glue and cause your hair to frizz up and your clothes to stick to you like ColorForms™, and cause tempers to flare.
  3. No more bugs.
  4. You don’t have to mow the grass anymore.  Or at least you can mow it a lot less.
  5. Halloween is kind of fun, and Christmas always turns out to be nice, in spite of the dreaded, over-commercialized “holiday season” that precedes it starting around Labor Day.
  6. You don’t feel guilty about sleeping in on weekends, or get that awful feeling that you might be missing something because you wasted your day lying in bed.
  7. Pumpkins are overrated and taste like garbage, but they do look sort of bright and happy sitting out there on a patch of grass covered with leaves.  Gourds are nice too.
  8. The smell of wet fallen leaves, fattening baked goods (except pumpkin pies, ew), and fires.

The best of fall and spring.

Here’s a collection of my favorite photos from each week I did this series.

Spring.

March 8th:
winter_into_spring1

March 15th:
spring_3-15

March 22nd:
spring322-10

March 29th:
spring329-3

April 5th:
spring4_5_6

April 12th:
spring_412_1

April 20th:
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April 25th:
spring_425_1

May 3rd:
spring_0503_02

Fall:

September 7th:
sep_7_5

September 13th:
sept_13_2

September 20th:
autumn_sept20_4

September 27th:
fall_sep27_2

October 7th:
fall_oct7_3

October 17th:
fall_oct17_5

October 24th:
fall_oct24_2

November 5th:
fall_nov5_3

The progression of autumn: November 5

This is the last post in this series. Enjoy!

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Previous posts in this series:
October 24th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/10/24/the-progression-of-autumn-october-24/
October 17th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/10/17/the-progression-of-autumn-october-17/
October 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/10/07/the-progression-of-autumn-october-7/
September 27th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/27/the-progression-of-autumn-september-27/
September 20th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/20/the-progression-of-autumn-september-20/
September 13th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/13/the-progression-of-autumn-september-13/
September 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/07/the-progression-of-autumn-september-7/

The progression of autumn: October 24

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fall_oct24_2

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🙂

Previous posts in this series:
October 17th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/10/17/the-progression-of-autumn-october-17/
October 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/10/07/the-progression-of-autumn-october-7/
September 27th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/27/the-progression-of-autumn-september-27/
September 20th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/20/the-progression-of-autumn-september-20/
September 13th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/13/the-progression-of-autumn-september-13/
September 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/07/the-progression-of-autumn-september-7/

The progression of autumn: October 17

I got some good ones today! I think the season’s at it’s peak in western NC. Sorry — there was no post last week.
Click the photos to enlarge.

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By the lake.

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Fallow field.

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Another one by the lake.

Previous posts in this series:
October 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/10/07/the-progression-of-autumn-october-7/
September 27th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/27/the-progression-of-autumn-september-27/
September 20th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/20/the-progression-of-autumn-september-20/
September 13th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/13/the-progression-of-autumn-september-13/
September 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/07/the-progression-of-autumn-september-7/

The progression of autumn: October 7

This was the first perfect fall day this year. More brilliant colors are showing now, especially yellow, and the day was warm and sunny with no humidity. My spirits were a bit higher today because of the brilliant sunshine and I even spent a little time on my front porch when I got home, just enjoying the perfect weather and the scenery.
I didn’t bother taking pictures this past weekend because it was still rainy and there wasn’t anything really spectacular to take pictures of.
Because of all the rain we had over the past two weeks, the grass also needed a mow.

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fall_oct7_3

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Previous posts in this series:
September 27th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/27/the-progression-of-autumn-september-27/
September 20th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/20/the-progression-of-autumn-september-20/
September 13th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/13/the-progression-of-autumn-september-13/
September 7th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/09/07/the-progression-of-autumn-september-7/

My Seasonal Affective Disorder makes me want to hibernate until spring.

seasonal_moods
Graph I made showing my mood pattern throughout the year. It’s this way every year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my SAD.

SAD is triggered by the lack of light and shortening days for those affected with it. During the shorter days the brain produces more melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that induces sleepiness in certain animals, like bears. It’s the reason why some mammals hibernate until the warmer, longer days of spring. Unfortunately, some humans retain this biological urge to hibernate, but because we must continue to live productive lives, our natural urge to sleep is ignored and seasonal depression is the result.

I seem to suffer from a weird form of SAD. The fall is much more depressing to me than winter. Most people with SAD feel terrible in late fall AND all winter. But for me, I start feeling depressed sometime in mid-August, when the days are growing noticeably shorter. Obviously, for me, the heat as nothing to do with it.

My SAD really kicks in once Fall officially starts and the trees start changing colors. My worst months are by far November and December. I absolutely hate them. I can’t stand the holidays (too stressful), so they do nothing to lighten or bring cheer to my low mood. All I want to do is curl into a little ball and hibernate until early spring.

In mid-late fall, everything looks so grim and barren to me–shades of gray, brown, and black, and everything is dying/going to sleep. The cold, gloomy, overcast days don’t help either. It’s dark when I get up and dark when I come home from work. It’s everything I can do to drag myself through these dark, depressing days.

Although I hate ice and cold and snow, sometime around the end of January (which I read is statistically the most depressing month of the year) my mood begins to perk up as my body begins to notice the lengthening days. Actually, I feel relief after the first day of winter, just knowing the days are going to get longer for 6 more months. I feel even more relief once the Holiday season is over (which I find really stressful).

My mood continues to improve until mid-late spring, then starts to level off, until early August when it starts to sink again.

My mood is at it’s highest around the end of April/early May. I have no idea why. Maybe because the days are fairly long by then, but the oppressive heat (which I don’t really like) hasn’t kicked in yet.

I think it might also have to do with the fact there are so many happy colors in the spring–and they aren’t the dreary 1970s-like browns, golds and oranges of fall. They’re more like 1980s colors–or even 1960s colors in some cases (and weren’t both those decades less depressing than the 1970s?) Everything isn’t all the same boring shade of green the way it is in summer either. I love spring.

My body/brain seems to mimic the cycle of hibernating animals–except that in the winter I actually feel better than in the fall. That I can’t really figure out because I hate cold weather so much (and it’s coldest here in February, but my mood is not that bad anymore by then).

I face this same strange pattern every single year. I’m coming into the worst of it in about another month or so. Blah.

For further reading: How to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder/Winter Blues:
http://www.normanrosenthal.com/blog/2012/01/how-to-beat-seasonal-affective-disorder-winter-blues-infographic/