Feeling Autumn

Find a place outside where you can stand or sit and just stop to welcome the fresh arrival of autumn.

Close your eyes, if you wish, and feel autumn’s breath against your face and hands.  

Does the air seem warm or cool, is it still or moving and if it is windy, does it brush your face with gentle softness or harsh roughness.  You might like to move your head slowly from side to side, and decide from where any moving air, whether a gentle breeze or a fierce wind is coming from.

And with your eyes still closed perhaps listen to the sounds of autumn around you.  What can you hear?

The song of the robin or wren, the sound of discarded cans being propelled by invisible hands along the road, the crackling of dry fallen leaves beneath your feet, the screech and groan of windblown branches or the hiss and clatter of leaves.  Maybe you can also hear the moan of air being squeezed by wild winds through gaps in doors and windows, or the mischievous twang of overhead cables.  

And do you notice how easily the imagination can work with these sounds and conjure up images of dangerous but hidden monsters that bellow, and roar so loudly. 

I wonder what they could look like to you?

And can you smell the richness of the autumnal aromas around you?  

Perhaps the earthy scent of rain-disturbed soil and the musty smell of fungi.  You may also catch the tangy, acrid smell of smoke that drifts from the many bonfires that seem to light up the darkening evenings. 

As the sun begins to lose its strength so nature responds by colouring the hedges and trees with still explosions of warm colour and light. So please open your eyes, if they were closed, and look around you.

Maybe count the number of amber and red objects you see which like natural traffic lights signal the end of green summer.

Can you spot the bright red berries of rose hips, the amber glow of leaves and the bright yellow striped abdomens of wasps and bees. 

Autumn is a time of movement.  

Watch leaves acrobatically tumble from their home branches.  Some, like those of the willow, seem to form narrow spears that first pierce the air with their sharp points and then wriggle like flying worms through the air.  Notice the broad colourful pentagons of the sycamore somersault in zig-zag paths, while small silver birch leaves form huge clouds of confetti that dance around you like soft, delicate butterflies.  

See if you can capture that moment when a leaf first begins its fall and watch its path to the soft bed of the Earth below.  

Sometimes, they meander for long seconds like expert parachutists as if taking their time to enjoy their flight, while others simply drop like stones, but miss all the fun.  Look also for spectacular mini tornados that sometimes whirl litter and leaves around and around in tight, twirling circles.

A walk in a park or woodland can bring a rich collection of seeds.

Look for the propeller-winged sycamore seed which when thrown into the air spins around and around like a mini helicopter, or the spiky horse chestnut and its treasured rich, brown conker inside.  Kicking up thick drifts of leaves is also hugely pleasing, although a close look into the depths of any litter pile will take you on a safari into a world of mini monsters; of millipedes, centipedes, worms and spring tails who work so hard in removing these piles of leaves which within a few months will be almost completely gone. 

Look out also for the delicate umbrellas of mushrooms and toadstools which seem to suddenly pop up overnight like autumnal jumping jacks.

If you are very lucky you may find them forming natural circles in the grass and perhaps choose to hop inside and maybe, make a wish from within this ‘fairy circle’. 

The skies are often filled in autumn with a pageant of varied cloudscapes.

Sometimes they drift like gently, grazing sheep or hurry rapidly across the bright, blue fields as if being driven by a well-meaning, but persistent sheep dog. Watch and see.

Enjoy autumn and its many colours, sounds, smells, and dancing movements. 


Find somewhere outside to stand or sit and then choose one or more of the following:

  • Close your eyes and feel the air against your face and hands.   Does it feel warm or cool?  Is it moving or still?  If there is a breeze, perhaps turn your head slowly from side to side and point to where it is coming from?
  • With your eyes still closed, listen to what you can hear?  The sound of birdsong, of litter being blown by the wind, of leaves rustling and swooshing, while on really windy days listen out for the moaning and crying sounds of invisible wind ‘monsters’. Perhaps describe or draw what they look like to you.
  • Switch on to the smells around you particularly after rain.  What can you smell? (I particularly like this activity during a barbeque.) 
  • Have a competition and find out who can see the most red, orange or yellow coloured objects. You will also find black and blue coloured berries if you look closely and carefully.  Does this count change from day to day? Watch closely and see how the colours in leaves and berries change.  Perhaps draw some multicoloured leaves as a medieval stain glass window.
  • Which autumnal insects are still about?  You may be lucky to spot some butterflies.  Can you name them or draw them?
  • Just stand and watch the amazing movement of leaves whether falling from trees or whirling around in the street.
  • Look closely at a pile of leaves and gently see what creatures you can spot and identify, remembering to put them back carefully.
  • Collect the amazing seeds of autumn, and perhaps plant some and watch as they grow.
  • Seek out fairy circles and learn about the amazing wood wide web.
  • Enjoy autumn.