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Autumn in Canberra Beyond the Instagram-worthy Photos

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by Belladonna (subscribe)
Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published May 9th 2020
How to enjoy autumn in Canberra without social media
Autumn is truly the most wonderful time of the year in Canberra. During this season of falling leaves, there are enough deciduous trees to transform our Bush Capital into a glorious landscape etched in vivid crimson, scarlet, gold, and orange.
How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

I am an autumn person. And I am lucky to live in Canberra so that I can be in this season and live it every year. There's just something about this season that has always stirred powerful emotions inside me, something that I think is best captured in Canadian poet Bliss Carman's words: "There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood-Touch of manner, hint of mood; And my heart is like a rhyme, with the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time."

However, in this age of Instagram, Facebook and selfies, autumn in Canberra has become almost akin to a tourist experience. It's all about driving around to the suburbs and places that are full of autumn trees and taking Instagram-worthy photos of them and then sharing them later on social media to prove to our friends and followers that we've 'done' autumn.

But I think that's a very superficial way of celebrating this season. We are now in the final month of autumn, and as lockdown restrictions begin to ease across Canberra, let's truly enjoy and celebrate this season beyond Instagram-worthy photos. Here are a few ways how you can.

1. Don't just go 'hunting' for autumn trees for the purpose of taking Instagram-worthy photos or selfies. Yes, take those photos (I've taken plenty myself!). Canberra's autumn landscape is truly breathtaking and provides many opportunities for Instagram-worthy shots. But let's go beyond all that. Why not practise the Japanese art of Momijigari? Basically, Momijigari is an age-old seasonal pastime in Japan of hunting for or viewing the autumn leaves, similar to sitting under the cherry blossoms in the spring. Momijigari is the simple act of enjoying the presence of the changing autumn leaves. So after you take your photos and selfies, spend a few moments just enjoying being in the presence of the autumn trees, playing in the autumn leaves, or collecting a few leaves for keeping. Check out where Canberra's best autumn trees are with this handy mapprovided by the ACT Government.
How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

Then do something different the next time you go autumn leaf hunting. Refrain from taking any photos. Put away your phone and just stand under the trees and be in their presence. Revel in them, enjoy them, breathe in their fragrance, feel the energy and mood of autumn.
Just enjoy the moment without having to post a photo of it on social media. Not every moment of our lives needs to be captured for social media.

2. Re-connect with the seasons and bring autumn into your home.
In this 'crazy-busy' digital world that we have created, many of us have become disconnected from nature and its cycles and rhythms. I think one of the best ways to re-connect is to welcome and bring in the seasons into your home. So why not welcome and celebrate autumn in your home by doing something as simple as making a pretty autumn wreath for your front door or as a table centrepiece like this one? You could use the leaves you collect from your autumn leaf hunting. Go here for some other lovely autumn wreath ideas.
How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

If you have Halloween decorations, why not use them to decorate your home? Halloween is an autumn celebration, after all. So pull out the Jack O Lanterns, ghosts, black cats, haunted houses, and witches. Halloween decorations make so much more sense at this time of the year than in spring when we celebrate it.

If you don't have Halloween decorations, then grab some pumpkins, orange candles, and fairy lights the next time you go to the shops and use them to bring autumn into your home.
How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

3. Celebrate some Halloween traditions.
Because Halloween IS an autumn celebration. So if it's your thing, then why not decorate Jack O Lantern faces on your pumpkins, read/tell scary stories, have a scary movie night, and bob for apples, the traditional Halloween game!
How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

4. Feast on autumn produce.
Enjoy the harvest of the season. Feast on autumn delights such as apples, pears, blackberries, figs, persimmons, plums, quinces, rhubarbs, grapes, kiwi fruit and pumpkins. Bake apple and rhubarb pies, make quince and fig jams and pumpkin soup. Re-connect your body with the foods of the season.
How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

5. Know and memorise some autumn poems.
Long before Instagram, poets and writers waxed lyrical about autumn such as English poet John Keats in his classic poem 'To Autumn'.

If you don't know any autumn poems, here are three of my favourites to help you get started.

"Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up in the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over,
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!"

"Autumn Song by Elizabeth Ellen-Long

These are the days of falling leaves,
The days of hazy weather,
Smelling of gold chrysanthemums
And gray wood-smoke together.

These are the nights of nearby stars,
the nights of closer moons,
When the windy darkness echoes
To cricket's farewell tunes."

"A Vagabond Song" by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name."

How to love autumn in Canberra beyond the Instagram-worthy photo

6. For many more ideas on how to enjoy autumn and bring the season into your home, read my article here.

Autumn is truly a spectacular time of the year in Canberra. And yes, our autumn landscape is certainly very Instagram-worthy. But let's temper our social media fixation for a bit. Let's just BE in the presence of autumn and enjoy a deeper connection with it. Let us live and enjoy these last days of falling leaves, mists and mellow fruitfulness before the long, cold dark days of the next and definitely not as Instagram-worthy season sets in.

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Why? Because autumn is more than just an Instagram-worthy photo
When: Autumn time-March, April and May
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