Itching to see some fall foliage this past weekend, my boyfriend and I packed up the car on Sunday afternoon and went for a drive — an hour and a half north to Vermont. We didn’t have a particular destination in mind — we just wanted to cross the state border and see the changing leaves. Years ago we drove up to Montreal in November and spent several hours driving through New Hampshire and Vermont. We look back on that drive fondly — the empty, winding back roads, the falling brown and yellow leaves floating on the wind, the trees aflame with the color of autumn. We just wanted to get back there — wherever ‘there’ was!
Plenty of farms, pumpkin patches, and specialty shops line route 2 as you head into Vermont from the south. Every few seconds one of us would point out the window and excitedly exclaim, “Look!” to draw attention to a particularly beautiful stretch of forest or a cute country scene, like the truck I spotted parked in the middle of a field, its bed filled to the top with pumpkins.
Of the many towns we drove through, Erving, MA stood out as particularly beautiful and quaint. The big white church and cluster of small businesses along the road passing through the town welcome their passersby, inviting them to stop in and say hello. We couldn’t help but stop and purchase some honey and honey butter at a local farm stand (which we later put on some crostini — it was SO GOOD).
When we arrived in Brattleboro, we pulled off the highway and parked near a covered bridge on the side of the road. It looked like the perfect place to stop and take in Vermont’s landscape. The trees were aglow in various shades of orange, red, and brown while leaves that had already fallen were scattered all over the ground. We shuffled through them as we made our way toward the bridge.
However, I got a little excited by the leaves and felt compelled to examine them, collect them. I asked my boyfriend to snap a few pictures of me collecting them and holding them up for the camera to see (the bridge was occupied anyway so we had some time to kill).
The leaves really were everywhere! Some bushes and vines were growing beneath the big Birch tree I was standing under, displaying greens, yellows, and oranges. They were all different types and shapes, too! Maple, Birch, Sycamore!
I was completely enchanted by the whole experience: a sunny fall afternoon spent outside, under a blue sky and falling leaves. The wind was blowing just enough to cause that audible rustle of branches. Birds chirped. The world felt still — like a single snapshot — for just a moment.
For a moment, I was still. For a moment, work stresses and family conflicts and worries about the future all temporarily lifted. I wasn’t thinking about the next day, that afternoon, or even what we were going to do next! I simply was. I felt so connected to that moment of stillness that I can close my eyes right now and be back there once again, the wind blowing my hair off my shoulder.
See, the thing about staying present in a moment is that the benefits of mindfulness don’t expire once that moment has passed; when you’re so in tune with the world around you, you pay attention to the details. You memorize the colors of the changing leaves, the smell of the earth getting a little cooler, the crunching of the dried leaves beneath your shoes, the feel of the wind drifting over your skin. You can return to this moment again — in the middle of a busy day, when you’re closing your eyes in bed at night. That peace doesn’t leave you; you can access it any time.
So, Friends: Dwell in your moments of peace.
I gathered up a few more leaves and we continued our walk across the covered bridge and over the creek. The water trickled across the rocks and downhill. Water can be so entrancing, can’t it? The sound of it can lull me to sleep. Its movement is so consistent that the rhythm of it can almost hypnotize you — whether it’s the crashing of waves, the lapping of a lake on a dock, or the careful trickle over rocks in a stream. (Dwell in your moments of peace.)
As meditative as the scenic drive and walk along the covered bridge were, the experience felt more of a reminder to find these pockets of peace in my everyday life, even if I have to look really hard to find them — or if I have to create them myself. We might not always have the opportunity to jump in the car and drive up to Vermont, but we do have the opportunity to slow ourselves down and push back against the pressure to live our lives at 100 mph.
If you do have a free afternoon in the coming weeks, I strongly recommend taking a scenic drive to a nearby state or city, where you can admire this beautiful change in seasons. Search the internet for fall attractions in your area — maybe the best hiking spots or cute small towns hosting outdoor fall activities.
If you can’t go for such a drive, I hope you can find the same beauty in a walk around your neighborhood or in sipping a cup of tea in your backyard. The world is a beautiful place if you pause and observe it. Truly, there is beauty in the smallest of things. If you look for them, I promise you will find them.
On our drive back through Erving, then back down to Central Massachusetts, I felt a little tired, plenty happy, but mostly I felt calm. A peace had replaced a buzzing I felt lingering from the previous week. It was like my body needed a physical reminder to slow down, to not get caught up in society’s way of life but keep preserving my own.
After a carefree summer, when responsibilities are fewer, pace of life slower, and worries few and far between, the transition into fall can be jolting. The hours of the day are shorter while work hours feel longer. We can get so caught up in what we ‘need’ to do that we don’t make time for our actual needs.
I hope this fall especially, you recognize that we all need these small moments of peace. Without them, we can get swallowed up by our environment. Create your small moments of peace when you need them, whether you physically go for a drive to another environment for a while or you close your eyes and visit that place in your mind. Watch the scene unfold before you, carrying you along the winding roads, stopping by the creek, and making space for you to rest beneath the autumn leaves.
+ Aspen + Company My Favorite Color is October Tee in Natural Short Sleeve
+ Abercrombie & Fitch Women’s Puff Sleeve Cardigan in Orange Spice
+ AE Comfort Stretch Waistband Highest Waist 90s Boyfriend Jean in Destroyed Medium Wash
+ Women’s Nike Air Force 1 07 LE Low in White
HAIR, MAKE-UP, & NAILS
+ Too Faced Pumpkin Spice Eyeshadow Palette
+ Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Kim K (Satin Finish)