Embracing Seasonal Living
If you follow me on Instagram you may have notice a theme to my feed over the past year. As part of my quest towards a slower, more meaningful pace of life, I've been attempting to live more seasonally. Along the way, I've been reflecting this in my photography. Last autumn, that meant a flurry of green ferns and red leaves, cosy knitwear and cute pumpkins. Then, as winter took hold, I focused on finding light during the darkest months with plenty of photos of snow-covered landscapes and warm fairy lights. Spring eventually arrived, giving way to green landscapes and pink flowers - leading into summer's foray into even more luscious greenery and colourful blooms.
This isn't just something for me to photograph. Our move to the countryside is helping me to become more aware of the shifts in the seasons, and to adopt my daily routines accordingly. Spring was dominated with planting our garden, and summer with getting in as much wild swimming as possible. Autumn will be the time for long walks in the hills & the woods, leading up to a winter where we will be creating a cosy nest for snuggling up indoors. As much as I love the view from my window to show me green landscapes and clear blue skies, I'm excited to see everything change.
To live seasonally, you simply embrace exactly what you have in that moment, in that particular time of the year. You take advantage of the positives of each season and partake in activities that are best suited to that season. For autumn, this could include wrapping yourself up in a blanket, lighting a few candles and reading a book on the sofa - but it could also mean going for a long walk, foraging fruit, returning home and baking a pie. It could mean taking out your camera and photographing the changing colours of the leaves, or creating an autumnal wreath to bring indoors and hang on a wall. If you throw yourself into living seasonally and try to get the best out of every season, you should feel content all year round, rather than experiencing that nagging 'waiting for summer' feeling.
I've been thinking a lot about seasonal living recently. It links in so perfectly to slow living; everything is more considered and sustainable. For example, my wardrobe. I fold away the clothes that I won't wear again for another six months and rearrange my wardrobe with the items that I will wear through the next season. Most of my wardrobe now transcends seasons, but thick knitwear, summer dresses, sandals, boots and various other items get stored away when not in use. This helps me to have a more manageable wardrobe, where I can easily see the garments that I like to wear at a particular time of year. It also alleviates the need for constantly buying new things, as unwrapping your seasonal garments instantly refreshes your wardrobe.
Another example is food & drink. It's incredibly unsustainable to eat out of season produce (think, where is it coming from?) Since we have started growing our own fruit and veg, I've got used to eating what we have. We currently have lots of aubergines that are almost ready to eat, so this week's meals will consist of plenty of aubergine dishes. It's also really fun to go for a walk and collect seasonal fruit such as blackberries and apples that you can take home to cook or bake with. It's more fun to experiment and try cooking new dishes with ingredients that you can see growing around you, rather than just eating the same things all year round.
I'm not going to lie, I have my weaknesses. I'm flying to Croatia at the end of the month for a last little taste of summer, and I'm toying with the idea of travelling somewhere hot at the beginning of next year. I love to embrace the seasons, but winters in England can just be too long, dark and cold for me. Still, I don't sit around and mope. The first sign of snow, I'll be running outside, and when the wind is howling, I will be making the most of the log burner in our new house. I'm looking forward to cosy winter nights, wrapped up in a blanket, snuggling the dog in front of the fire while we play chess or I get stuck into a good book.
Two years ago, I wrote a list of everything I wanted to do that autumn, so I thought I'd do something similar again, in case any of you just aren't feeling autumn and need a little inspiration.
Autumn list 2018
Go for long walks in the hills and through forests, marveling at the changing colours of the landscapes.
Create an autumnal wreath to hang on the wall.
Sit in the living room, with the wood burner roaring & candles flickering, playing chess, reading books or watching films.
Travel to someplace new to explore a dramatic autumnal landscape.
Make crumbles, gins, jams & chutneys with seasonal fruit.
Host dinner parties with friends, trying out new seasonal recipes.
Spend Sunday afternoons walking to local pubs for roast dinners by open fires.
Rise early in the morning and enjoy long, lingering breakfasts by candlelight.
Take my camera everywhere and capture all of the highlights of the season.
Light a fire outdoors, wrap ourselves in blankets and spend an evening outside.