We appreciate fall for the same reason that we appreciate life: It’s beautiful because it’s finite. At the same time that we’re dazzled by the contrast of vivid foliage against an impossibly blue sky, we can’t help but wonder how much longer it will last. As the sweltering summer heat dissolves into crisp temperatures and foggy mornings, we’re forced to come to terms with the fact that winter’s on its way. The most poignantly beautiful phenomena in life are not precious in spite of their looming end—they’re precious because we know they can’t last forever.
This post is in honor of fall’s ability to draw us out of our air-conditioned existence and into the sun, enjoying the best of what the season has to offer while we still have the chance. I’ve handcrafted the perfect fall playlist to provide a soundtrack to your season, from picking apples to sipping cider by the fire. I also curated a selection of fall photos (mine) and fall quotes (not mine) that capture the season’s spirit perfectly. Let me know which fall quotes, photos & songs are your favorites—and make the most of the season while it lasts!
Fall Quotes & Photos to Celebrate the Season
“It was still late summer elsewhere, but here, fall was coming; for the last three mornings, she’d been able to see her breath. The woods, which started twenty feet back from her back door like a solid wall, showed only hints of the impending autumn. A few leaves near the treetops had turned, but most were full and green. It was a transitional period, when the world changed its cycle and opened a window during which people might also change, if they had the inclination.”
“When fall comes, it settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it, and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
“Autumn stomps around outside the house like an annoying little sister, tapping on all the shutters, kicking up the piles of leaves you rake, pretending to howl like a wolf. But I’m glad she’s here, so we can cuss at Summer together, pretending we don’t even remember her name.”
“There is a particular kind of afternoon sun that exists only in autumn. A golden light drapes itself over the world of that hour. It falls through the afternoon sky, fine and faint as a swirl of cigarette smoke caught in the wind, nearly transparent. So sweet, that light, insisting softly, goldly against the windows.”
“Use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently-hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.”
“In September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
“Autumn. It’s crispness, it’s anticipation, it’s melancholia, it’s cool breezes replacing summer’s heat. It’s long days in the field, a harvest festival when work’s done, a cheering crowd in a football stadium, chrysanthemums punctuating a somber landscape. It’s Halloween highjinx, pumpkins grinning toothy smiles, the crack of pecan pressed against pecan, the first curls of woodsmoke. It’s crisp and fresh, mellow and snug, solemn and melancholy. And it’s very, very welcome.”
“Enchantment and fulfillment were on the gold and garnet horizon—autumn’s breath, a dormant dream reawakened, a yearning nearly satiated, a tender thank you with a brush of the lips, and a connection as fingers touch and go hand in hand. Steam rising underneath a canopy of whispering, changing aspens; starlight in the clear, dark night, and wondrous beauty in every direction. If only all could feel this way, to be so captured and enthralled with autumn.”
—Donna Lynn Hope
“Autumn is an interesting season, even in the metaphor of life. It’s a time of decline, of loss, but also intense and haunting beauty. Some places, like some people, never are, or have been, as beautiful as in their fall.”
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love—that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
“It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding sight when every tree in a landscape becomes individual, when each winding highway and plump hillside is suddenly and infinitely splashed with every sharp shade that nature can bestow—flaming scarlet, lustrous gold, throbbing vermilion, fiery orange.”
“She drove with the windows rolled down, breathing in the essence of autumn: an exhalation of a forest readying itself for sleep, a smell so redolent with nostalgia that a pleasant ache warmed her bones, and she was nagged with the sense of a loss she could not remember.”
“Time remorselessly rambles down the corridors and streets of our lives. but it is not until autumn that most of us become aware that our tickets are stamped with a terminal destination.”
—Joe L. Wheeler
“In the utter peace and stillness the world seemed to be holding its breath, a little apprehensively, drawing near to the fire to warm itself. There was none of that sense of urgeful, pushing life that robs even a calm spring day of the sense of silence; life was over and the year was just waiting, harboring its strength for the final storms. The warmth and the color of maturity was there, exultant and burning, visible to the eyes; but the prophecy of decay was felt in a faint shiver of cold at morning and evening, and a tiny sigh of the elms at midnight when a wandering ghost of a wind plucked a little of their gold away from them.”
“So sad, those smoky-rose, smoky-mauve evenings of late autumn, sad enough to pierce the heart. The sun departs the sky in winding sheets of gaudy cloud; anguish enters the city, a sense of the bitterest regret, a nostalgia for things we never knew; anguish of the turn of the year, the time of impotent yearning, the inconsolable season.”
“November—with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes—days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees.”
Which fall quotes, photos & songs best capture the season’s beauty, in your opinion? What are your favorite ways to celebrate the season? What are you most looking forward to now that the weather’s cooling down? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. For more gorgeous fall photos, check out my fall Pinterest board below!