The melancholy of autumn
While autumn is unquestionably a beautiful season, each autumn I get a sense of melancholy, a sense of almost sadness. I’m not referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – though winter certainly isn’t my favourite part of the year, I’m fortunate enough not to suffer from SAD. Perhaps it’s the passing of summer (my favourite season), or perhaps it’s something else. Regardless, I get that feeling each year when the leaves start falling. Do you get it too?
Like most people, summer used to be adventure season to me, and I’d spend almost all winter plotting various adventures I’d like to do when summer came around again. There are four seasons in a year, and when you limit your adventures to (mostly) just one of them, you won’t have much time for adventures. A while ago I consciously decided to expand my adventure season to all-year. Yes, including mid-winter. Last winter I went cycle-camping on Dartmoor, for example. That means I absolutely intend to keep having adventures in autumn, and through winter, as a counter to the seasonal blues.
I recently cycled from Penzance to Plymouth over three days, along a route I call Four Ferries & Freedom (look out for the soon-to-be-released GoCycle cycling route guide for this route). As per usual, I wild-camped along the way, and it was absolutely gorgeous. However, on the second night, the temperature overnight noticeably dropped and I found myself wishing I brought my warmer sleeping bag. I had some minor setbacks during the ride, but overall it was an excellent adventure.
In October I’m planning a non-cycling adventure on Dartmoor, with a friend of mine. We’ll be hiking across open moorland, loosely following the course of a river for a while, then camping overnight.
To me, autumn is also a time of reflection. I tend to look back over the year and think about things I got up to, what went right, and what can be improved.
Autumn, as well as especially winter, I tend to spend more time planning all sorts of adventures. Of course, I plan far more adventures than what I’d be able to fit into an already busy life, but you have to dream, right? This autumn and winter I’ll be spending large chunks of time finetuning the route for my Wild Atlantic Way ride in May ’23. I won’t be sticking absolutely to the signed route, as it can get swamped with tourist coaches and campervans. Also, there may be additional points of interest I want to visit along the way. Obviously, I’ll be spending much time getting in shape for that ride, too.
How about you? How do you feel about autumn, and what autumn/winter adventure plans do you have? Do you suffer from autumn blues too, and if so, how do you combat it?