I’m still in the clouds from my run this evening. The rare combination of perfect weather, warm with a cool breeze, and the perfect music mix on Pandora coupled with a healthy dose of endorphins had me wondering why I don’t run all the time. It is, of course, because I don’t actually enjoy running very much, but it’s easy to forget that when the world has conspired to make my run so perfect.
The weather seems to be turning cooler, and that reminds me that autumn is nearly here. Autumn may be my favorite season, though I don’t usually pick favorites. I love the pumpkin-themed foods, the scent of cinnamon in whatever is baking, the excuses to turn gourds into soups, the cooler weather that makes me want to go on long rambles in the woods, and the anticipation of snowmen and winter wonderlands before the idea of winter becomes tiresome.
I feel like I always take autumn for granted. Every year, I mean to enjoy it, but by the time I get around to it, it has come and gone. So this year, I’m making a bucket list to remind myself to enjoy the autumn months before the cold desolation of the Chicago winter arrives.
1. GO TO THE FARMERS MARKET
I’m ashamed to say that I have not been to the local farmers market at all this year. I meant to go all summer, but I never actually made it there because I was either out of town or working on Saturdays. I want to go before the end of the season though and pick up some squash for soups, risottos, and other fun cooking experiments.
2. MAKE SOUP
I love making soup. There is something about working so hard to create flavors then hiding the evidence by blending the soup that appeals to me. My favorite is butternut squash soup, but there are good soups to be made with all kinds of other squash. If I’m feeling particularly motivated, I might try making the stock from scratch too.
3. GO RUNNING ON THE LAKEFRONT TRAIL
One of the best parts of living in Chicago is that there is a trail along Lake Michigan for runners and bikers. I’ve been meaning to run on the lakefront trail all summer, but I haven’t made it there yet. Since I’m training for a race in November, I hope I’ll make it there at least once.
4. RUN A ROAD RACE
I’m fairly confident that this one will happen because I am already signed up to run a race in November. Autumn has perfect running weather. It is cool enough to run without feeling like I will black out because of the heat and humidity, but it is not so cold that I need to wear a jacket. This is typically also the time of year that I realize that summer is over and I have made no progress on my goal to be physically fit.
5. GO APPLE PICKING
Eating apples off the tree in my parents’ backyard over Labor Day Weekend made me realize how much fun it is to pick fruit. I’ve heard that there are some nice apple orchards in Illinois, but I have never been to one. Hopefully, that will change this year.
6. GO ON A HIKE
I always resent the winter months because it is so unpleasant to be outside. I am determined to get my fill of fresh air and outdoor activity before setting foot outside becomes a chore.
7. MAKE AS MANY PUMPKIN THEMED FOODS AS I CAN THINK OF
As a challenge to motivate me to bake, I’m going to make all of the pumpkin-themed dishes I can think of. If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!
8. DRINK HOT APPLE CIDER
Apple cider is one of my favorite drinks, and autumn is the perfect time for a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick and a pinch of nutmeg.
9. SEE THE FALL COLORS
Every year, I mean to go out and photograph the golds and reds of the autumn leaves, but I never seem to make it outside with a camera before the leaves are gone. This year, I will go on at least one photography adventure while the fall colors are out.
What’s on your autumn bucket list?