Autumn Mornings

Autumn Mornings

Autumn Mornings

A Collaboration with

MornIngs in New England are beautiful, a sight to see year round. However, there's a certain time of year when they truly stand out. Autumn mornings are quiet and peaceful. They blanket the landscape with a thick fog and fresh dewdrops. Changing colors paint the rolling hills and wooded forests. All else seems to stand still as nature takes the main stage.

Mornings Like These is an Instagram project by Joy Jaynes that is dedicated to showcasing the beauty of mornings across the globe and building a community of those who cherish their morning moments. The project is a humble celebration of the sometimes-forgotten rituals of the early hours in our day. It was without question that we wanted to partner with Joy on creating a project that both captures mornings in New England and autumn. We aptly titled the project 'New England Mornings Like These' and had close to two hundred submissions using the tag "#NEmorningslikethese," of which four amazing moments were chosen to accompany the feature. Additionally, we had writers from each New England state submit their perfect autumn morning to help bring to life the beauty of our region and this perfect time of day. We are excited to share with you 'Autumn Mornings,' a collection of mornings in New England during our favorite season.

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Mornings are designed entirely to remind you that you are loved. Cared for. Nurtured and sustained. In the evening when darkness takes to the skies, we are given another day when the light reappears; A whole new day just for us. The light arrives to nurture our plants, guide our travels, warm our skin; to sustain us. There is a whole season each year that is devoted to the love and opportunity each morning holds. Our dear Autumn. Autumn mornings creep in a little slower, warm up a little later, and provide a beautiful scene just outside of your doorstep to behold each day. The chilliest point of the day is oft the early morning hours; where we can take to our loved ones for extra warmth. The sun peaks out a little later; to allow us those few extra moments before the day begins. The leaves turn a little brighter; to draw attention to this great, big, wide, delicious, humble, giving earth. This morning, Autumn is waiting for you. Inhale the crisp pines. Play in the vibrant leaves. Wake to see the golden sunrise. Walk the trails, hike, reach the tops of mountains. Love this luscious earth as it loves you each and every Autumn morning.
- Joy Elizabeth Jaynes, Mornings Like These

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A Morning In Vermont

Words by Heather Caulfield Mills
Photo by @Joyarose

The farmhouse smells like apple pie when we wake. My sisters and I share a room near the kitchen, and we can hear our mother washing pans and corralling the boys. Dad is in the living room listening to the weekend news. We get up and pull on corduroys, wool sweaters, and our favorite flannel shirts.

Back in the kitchen, mom is calling to us. Hannah and Laura help her start a batch of donuts and I head out to the farm stand. It’s cold there in our gambrel-roofed barn with the black and white cow-patterned floors. I slap the cash register awake and switch on the small lamp that brings a warm light to this paradise of homemade baked goods, apples, and syrup. I climb to the loft, full of dust and sweet hay, and swing open the upper door that overlooks the valley. Through the mist, our nearest neighbor’s house appears ghostly white behind a stand of maples in vibrant autumn plumage. Beyond the neighbor’s, the hill- side drops away to the Connecticut River and then rises to more hills beyond.

When I think of those mornings, I remember rain — dismal grey days that highlighted the brilliant palette of foliage. The smell of autumn rises from the ground and rushes from the woods around the barn: the bittersweet odor of fallen leaves becoming soil. When it isn’t raining, the fall sky is impossibly blue, as if burning the last summer rays before it wavers and goes blank with snow.

Downstairs in the farm stand, my sisters deliver a batch of donuts, savory and grease-slicked, fresh from the pan. There is bread my mother makes, and Hannah’s apple crisp. The walls are lined with gifts and books — small tracts on Vermont history and instructions on how to cook like the old-timers. My two brothers, the youngest siblings, run around the yard, excited to entertain any visitors who might arrive: the neighbors and tourists who stop to pick apples, pet the sheep, or just chat. Mom hops on the tractor and rumbles away with a load of empty apple boxes. We take an assortment of bags and head for the orchard, marching through the wet field with our wellie boots slap- ping smartly against our shins. Elijah the cat follows us, concerned we might get lost without his supervision. The laying hens cluck at us from their house at the edge of the woods, and the turkeys poke around for unsuspecting insects in the long grass. When it snowed later that fall, we had to shovel a patch of field for the turkeys every day until Thanksgiving time.

It’s wonderfully satisfying to pick a ripe apple after spending all spring and summer mowing, weeding, thinning, and pruning. Hold the fruit; gently turn your wrist, and the stem snaps free.

We pick a few bushels and return to the stand. My turn at the till, I get out my writing notebook and sit by the register, leaning towards the small lamp for warmth. The rain patters lazily outside the open doors and I put down my pen and gaze across the valley. The hillsides are a patchwork of dark firs and bright foliage, cut with neat squares of distant pastures where I imagine I can almost see the cows. My belly is already full of apples. The boys whoop and run into the yard, announcing our first visitors of the day.

A Morning In Rhode Island

Words by Thompson
Photo by @empogo

As I awake from an evening of peaceful slumber, I am met with the autumn chill that I’ve begrudgingly begun to accept as the seasons change. The air is frigid. I bury my nose in my pillow for extra warmth, fighting the cool morning temps from reaching the rest of my body. I sink back into my cocoon with content. As I rub the eve’s slumber from my eyes, the aroma of fresh ground coffee slowly tiptoes into the bedroom. I ignore the urge to get up and go and roll back over into my cave of blankets. After all, it is the weekend, and this morning is mine to savor.

After much convincing, I finally pry myself from my comfy bed. I’m the type who doesn’t like to waste daylight, and my mile-long list of to-dos keeps coming to mind, making sure I don’t forget. I emerge from the bed- room, wrapping myself in my favorite sweatshirt and slipping on my cozy slippers. A fresh cup of coffee is waiting for me. I sit down at our farm table and do what I do just about every weekend morning...I face the sliding door so I can watch what’s going on in the outside world and enjoy my morning cup. Outside there is a dusting of fog rolling across the field. This grey blanket mutes the green grass. Even the vibrant yellows of the trees across the way look tired - ready to be shaken from their surroundings. A fresh coat of dew decorates the ankle-high grass. I shudder and wrap my hands tightly around the warm mug, pulling it in closer so I can feel the warmth under my chin.

Beyond the barricade of trees you’re met with the ocean. That’s what I love most about Rhode Island. It’s unique. Farms and rolling countryside meet the Atlantic Ocean for stretches of rocky and sandy beaches for us to enjoy. For such a small state, the beauty of the landscape is unrivaled. Autumn in Rhode Island is when the state shines. The magnificent colors give way to the ocean — something you don’t typically find in the other New England states.

As I finish my coffee, I run through the mental checklist I have formed — my first task is one tradition I do every autumn, and I am immediately jolted awake with excitement as I brood over it.

Every Autumn I venture down the road to South Shore Beach. The trip doesn’t end there as I continue through South Shore to Goosewing Beach Preserve. Goosewing is unspoiled beauty protected by the Nature Conservancy. Cars cannot enter the preserve, in fact it typically requires wading through a small stretch of tidal water to get there. Its hard-to-get-to personality typically turns people off from the journey, leaving the beautiful stretch of preserve for your wanderings. The solitary appeal is what I love most about this annual pilgrimage. And fall is no time to over- look the adventure – the deciduous trees pop with color in the nearby woods while autumn breezes tousle the dune grass, gently molding the dune structure as sand is rearranged by nature’s hand. I typically wrap myself in layers, bring a blanket, a book and of course my camera, and wander the preserve, soaking myself in its beauty. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my morning.

This morning is the going to be the perfect autumn morning.

 

A Morning in Maine

Words by Crickett Cote
Photo by @emaritraffie

As a Maine resident since birth I have come to realize how much I’ve been spoiled. When I was nine years old my parents moved our little family from the city to the country. It was at this point I began to fully understand what having a yard meant. We had a huge backyard where we’d play horse- shoes, and sit around smoky campfires at night. My younger sister and I had the space to kick around a soccer ball on the front lawn. These simple luxuries were some- thing we were not accustomed to having grown up surrounded by the frustrated groans and fast paced blurs of the city. There’s something about growing up in a small, country town that made rushing seem foolish. I was surrounded by fragrant green fields for miles with streetlamps few and far between. The most prevalent colors were the soft green beneath my feet and the dreamy waves of blue above my head, which collided seamlessly all around me.

My favorite place to look was the sky. When I looked up I was swallowed by the perfect blue ocean above me. From the sky came the breeze. When the autumn breeze caught in my sweater it would kick start an internal explosion of firing synapses that spread like wildfire. Standing still, breathing, alone and young, I let it wash over me. I felt connected to a larger cycle of nature that I’ve come to better understand with age. This is when I am happiest. When things get tough I close my eyes and remember those fields, and how carefree I felt by just looking up.

Autumn in Maine is when looking up is most beautiful. It’s not just a season — it is a movement. Melodramatic reds, sleepy greens and screaming yellows swaying together in perfect rhythmic patterns. Those extra back roads on long walks, that second cup of hot tea, that next chapter in an already engrossing novel. All those extra minutes are autumn. Even the mornings move slower. Stillness permeates. Time cannot touch you here. Walking outside in the morning makes you feel like you are viewing something that others are missing. The calm, comfortable crispness is celebrated by the senses. The brisk air doesn’t stick; it curves, and bends, and rolls freely through everything it touches. It is like the whole world is on spin cycle. The trees murmur like birds. Leaves fall like rain. Every sound seems purposeful and more beautiful than it did yesterday. Maine has this fantastic way of tricking you into thinking it’s the first time you’ve ever seen it. Autumn is nature’s reset button. We shed our summer skin. We bundle and press our bodies closer. In the invincible wake of clear autumn mornings we are all safe and blithe newborns.

Maine’s rolling country scenery has renewing, healing qualities. The hills, flowers, clouds, and lakes all breathe oxygen into our senses and allow us to be reborn. Each day contains a series of WOW moments strung together like telephone wires with each one connecting us to each other. Beauty is infinite. Anyone could get lost in this sweet abandon. But there comes a point when the day has to start, and morning seems a distant harbor. The world begins to spin. People dot and dash the landscape. And you realize that completely safe cocoon the crisp autumn morning captured you in has cracked. Not in a malevolent way but so you can understand its importance when it is there. The sunshine settles on your skin as a reminder to take a few extra minutes to explore. Let it rinse you down. In our daily haste we so often forget to slow down and enjoy the breathtaking simplicity in front of us. But autumn is simply hard to ignore.

 

A Morning in New Hampshire

Words by Meghan Cochran
Photo by @its_herrin

 

This beautiful autumn morning is too sweet. The smell of freshly ground coffee floats through the house to greet me, still tucked in bed. My husband is grinding coffee per his morning tradition. My daughter is nestled beside me, breathing softly as the gentle morning light kisses us. A few hours ago, the small sound of her mewing in the room next to ours pierced the early morning air, stealing me from sleep. The cold, dark hours of the early morning in her big girl crib worry her, so I still sometimes bring her into the warm, loving embrace of our bed. I am not bothered — she won’t be calling out in the dark for mama much longer.

I sigh a little morning sigh and burrow deeper under the down blanket, warming the tip of my nose. My dreamy princess stirs beside me, and I remain still. She nestles closer and puts her tiny hand on my chest to make sure I’m still there to protect her. In a minute I hear her slow, deep breathing return as she slips back into sleep’s warm embrace. I can’t help but revel in the glori- ous laziness that is my life in this moment. The luxury of quiet Sunday morning cuddles in bed seems almost too good to be true. I hear the padded footsteps of my husband in the kitchen, clinking around with his fancy coffee contraptions to get that perfect crema. I am so grateful that he found me, all those years ago, and wrapped me in his safe warmth. I know that I will never again have to wander by my lonesome.

Perfect cup of coffee in hand, he comes to stand in the bedroom doorway and look at his two girls. Hearing the floor creak, my daughter wakes and looks up at me. After a moment, she announces, “Dada!” with a big, toothy smile. “No, I’m Mama!” I croak. “That’s Dada!” I say, pointing to my husband. “That’s MY girl!” He says with a giant smile. Setting his coffee down on the bedside table, he hops back into bed to tickle and wrestle with his girls.

The beauty of this simple autumn morning will not go unnoticed. As I revel in my family’s presence, I think of what this magical new day will bring. There is a bitter- sweet feeling in my chest, for I know these precious moments will not last. My blessings are endless, and my heart is full.

 

A Morning in Connecticutt

Words by Jennie Smith
Photo by @themarginalian

Autumn had always been a time of fresh starts and new beginnings, much like a second spring, because time was measured in school years. Fresh supplies, the smell of new books, catching up with peers about the summer, and starting a new school year with classes; those days, the mornings were more rushed and hazy.

These days, I have time to slowly wake up and enjoy what the early part of the day has to offer.

Especially in the fall, when things start to slow down and cool down, I make a point to watch the progression of the season out my bedroom window. There is a large maple tree that was planted before I was born, that now towers over our home. Every fall it blushes red as a last effort to hold onto a short and beautiful summer. I watch every morning as those leaves become a gradient of green to red and until the last one hangs onto bare branches. Now autumn is a time for reflection. The year is coming to an end and I like to take time during the morning to look back and think about all that has happened during the year.

Autumn mornings are good for tea making and indulging in a warming breakfast. Maybe apple pancakes or gooey cinnamon buns right from the oven. These hours are perfect for a brisk walk or run to clear your head before beginning the rest of your day. There is still enough summer in the sun to keep you going but winter is surely present in the shade.

At least once this time of year, I try to get up before the sun and drive to a favorite dirt road that leads to an overlook of a few rolling hills and farms. The quiet and twilight before the sun is unlike any other; you watch as the sun begins to touch the dewy grass and then the leaves, as if to paint them little by little; greens, reds, oranges and yellows. The mist lifts off of the hills and the world wakes up, ready to embrace the day.

 

A Morning in Massachusetts

Words and Photo by B. Taylor Sands

I may have learned sooner what a perfect autumn morning in Massachusetts could be like, had I not been so reluctant to let myself experience one. I moved to the Metrowest area outside of Boston after graduating from college in 2011. The challenges of starting a new job, familiarizing myself with new surroundings, and adjusting to an entirely new lifestyle over- whelmed me. My boyfriend Matthew and I prepared to move into a new apartment together, and to take on the transitions of our impending adulthood. We anticipated at least some degree of separation anxiety from our rural home in Southern New Hampshire, but I felt confident that we would eventually settle in comfortably with our new routines. As autumn approached, however, I realized that there was one aspect of this move that I remained concerned about. How could I ever come to appreciate autumn in the city? To enjoy an autumn morning in Boston after falling in love with the changing of the seasons in New Hampshire? I assumed I never would. My change of heart, albeit recent, has been profound, and it happened on a cool and sunny Saturday morning in early October.

This particular morning was characterized by the clean, brisk air that all New Englanders know so well, and I woke slowly to the sound and the feeling of that familiar breeze filtering in softly through the blinds of our bedroom window. Matthew, with his brown, tousled hair askew, was turned away from me: still fast asleep. I found the warm, concave indentation between his shoulders, which happens to be a perfect fit for my face — and nuzzled into it. It was early enough, but later than we had hoped to rise and shine that morning. Fresh, cool air paired with the warm protection of a voluminous comforter made for optimal conditions for hitting the snooze button. Still, we had errands to run, and I managed to pry myself, and then Matthew, out of bed. A shower, an outfit, and a granola bar for each of us, and we were ready to venture downtown. The colder air was physical and emotional relief to our faces as we stepped out of our front door. I inhaled a comforting earthy scent. "It smells so good out here!" I exclaimed. Matthew smiled and heartily agreed: "It does." We started down our quiet, tree-lined street, and I made a point of shuffling my feet through the lofty piles of pale yellow leaves in front of our neighbors’ houses. The satisfying sound of dry rustling faded in my wake.

In fifteen minutes we were at the Davis Square subway station. Although it had become routine for me, the one aspect of taking the "T" downtown that never lost its novelty was going over the Charles River. On that morning, as I turned to look out of the subway car's window, I was pleased to not only see the familiar view of the water and the mid-morning sun gleaming off of the Prudential Center, but also the reddish-orange tinge of the leaves along the river that had just begun to turn. Their tops displayed a tantalizing array of reds, pale oranges, and dark golden yellows, while their bottom leaves held on stubbornly to the remnants of summertime green. The river itself was playing host to a flurry of little white sailboats criss-crossing atop the water's surface. "Probably a sailing class," I mused to Matthew. Near the left bank, I spotted an eight-man rowing shell. On most clear mornings in Boston, you can spot a few eights rowing swiftly by all along the Charles, their oars moving in perfect synchrony. I closed my eyes, allowing that vision to summon memories of when I had held a similar oar in my own hands. I imagined the sound of eight oars turning, feathering, sliding, squaring, and pulling in time: click, galunk, slide, splash, repeat. The soothing repetition of the oars making their graceful flight over and through the water again, and again, occupied my thoughts as we sunk back underground, and up until we pulled into Park Street.

As we exited Park Street station, we were greeted by a brilliant burst of mid-morning sunlight: bright and unfiltered as it washed over Boston Common and the surrounding buildings. The beautiful autumn morning had lured Bostonians out of their homes and apartments early. The entire city was vibrant, awake, and seemingly invigorated by the clean autumn air. I pulled Matthew into the nearest Dunkin Donuts to grab a hot cup of coffee — cream, no sugar — and we hurried back out to cross Park Street and enter the Common. We strolled through the Common and the Public Gardens in silence, enjoying the warmth of that bright autumn sunshine on our faces and the accompanying playful breeze at our backs. Here, too, the trees' autumn dress had just begun to show: the same top-to-bottom “stoplight” display that was featured along the Charles. It was there in the Public Gardens that I was struck with a sudden twinge of appreciation for everything I had experienced that morning: the sights, smells, and sounds of autumn in Boston. Sipping my hot coffee and meandering through the bright, bustling city with Matthew was a small experience that had a big impact on my perspective. My one-dimensional view of autumn evolved into a new appreciation for the countless facets of the season that New England has to offer. One perfect autumn morning in a beautiful city was all I needed.