The Healing Powers of Autumn in New England

Photo by Carolyn Brown '16 | Autumn foliage outside the Smith College Museum of Art.

Photo by Carolyn Brown ’16 | Autumn foliage outside the Smith College Museum of Art.

Nora Turriago ’16
Opinions Editor

There is no place like New England in the fall. Beautiful landscapes of changing leaves, lush green and endless farmland greet our eyes and, surrounded by this picturesque, postcard-like view, it is all too easy to become accustomed to the beauty of autumn, and even – dare I say – take it for granted.

Don’t let this be you! With tourists coming to our part of the world to take pictures and bask in the glow of the autumn leaves, fall provides the perfect time to recharge in nature. As temperatures cool and jackets start making an appearance, winter – like it or not – will be here sooner than we know. This means it is all the more important to enjoy the foliage, comfortably cooler temperatures and arrival of all things pumpkin-flavored.

For Smithies in particular, autumn provides an opportunity to relax and practice mindfulness. It’s no secret that life at Smith can be hectic, with assignments, club meetings, to-do lists and professors you have to meet. However, simply looking away from your planner and taking in the beautiful scenes of autumn can help you feel calmer.

Regardless of how stressed or overwhelmed you may feel, I encourage every Smithie to leave their desk and go for a walk around Paradise Pond, or perhaps in downtown Northampton. The goal? To take in and enjoy your surroundings: the red of a certain tree, the crisp breeze, the sound of your boots crunching the leaves on the sidewalk.

Invite a friend for a nature walk and end it with some hot cider. Sit on the bench by Paradise Pond and read a book or simply enjoy the view. Take some pretty leaves and pin them to your wall, or trace them in a sketchpad. I have found that the easiest way to feel more relaxed and centered is to be in nature. It lets me get out of my head and, once I take in the beauty of the outdoors, I feel energized and refreshed. I am able to return to my work with more energy and efficiency.

Forget Netflix – being outside this time of year is just as entertaining, if not more so. If you still need some more convincing, just channel your memories of last January: snow, cold, endless ice, dark by four p.m. Smithies: winter is coming! So, please, for your own personal happiness and well-being – go outside!

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