Finding Joy in Fall: Shifting Perspectives on the Season of Change


Larry J Billinger

The approach of fall stirs a plethora of emotions within me. In Kansas, specifically in the expansive landscapes around Salina, the onset of winter is often marked by piercing cold gusts, early dark nights, sleety evenings, and the haunting sounds of distant train horns. These elements, while evocative, often had me seeking refuge indoors, peering out into the vast, chilly expanse.

Yet, my memories from living in Montana provide a stark contrast. Nestled amidst the Rockies, I discovered the joys of winter — from cross-country skiing on untouched snow and strolling through picturesque woods to the rhythmic act of chopping wood. The sheer bliss of soaking in natural hot springs, with the cold air nipping at my nose, remains unparalleled. And those mountain towns! Their cozy, intimate warmth during winter offered a sense of solace and belonging.

This dichotomy of experiences keeps me hopeful. If Montana’s winters could be embraced with such enthusiasm, there’s potential for a renewed perspective toward fall and winter, even back in Kansas.

As autumn paints the world in shades of gold and red, it’s an invitation to reflect and find joy in the season’s nuances. Building on this sentiment, Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, a leading psychiatrist on Seasonal Affective Disorder, remarked, “As the seasons change, so do we. The lack of sunlight in the winter can influence our mood, but it also opens doors to find new means of enrichment.”

For those seeking a refreshed connection with these cooler months, here are some suggestions:

  1. Deepen Spiritual Connections: Embrace the tranquility of shorter days with introspective activities, be it prayer or delving into the Bible.
  2. Engage in Fall Sports: The fervor of college football season, coaching YMCA volleyball, and gathering for Super Bowl celebrations can offer a warm, communal embrace against the cool air. As winter draws to a close, the excitement around basketball and the Final Four becomes palpable.
  3. Engage in Autumnal Traditions: From pumpkin picking, and apple harvesting, to attending the Renaissance Festival in Kansas City, these activities celebrate the season’s bounty and cultural vibrancy.
  4. Home Comforts: Warm beverages, autumnal decor, or just a comforting blanket can elevate the indoor experience.
  5. Stay Active: Despite the chill, staying physically engaged can be both invigorating and therapeutic.

With winter on the horizon, it’s perhaps a time to seek out new experiences, akin to my Montana days, to redefine our relationship with the colder months. And for those who find themselves grappling with seasonal blues, know that support and understanding are never far away.

As we wrap up, we’re curious: What do you love or loathe about fall and winter? Share your sentiments and experiences; after all, our perceptions are shaped by the collective stories we tell.

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