Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Joyful Reflections: Autumn and Summer’s Last Kiss

Posted on Sep 21, 2016 by Lisa Ricard Claro   20 Comments | Posted in The Naked Truth


Photo courtesy of Charlie Kellogg via

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. That sound you hear is my heart singing.

We don’t see a drastic change here in the South. Nothing like New England, where I grew up. Oh, leaves change color here in Georgia, but even the North Georgia Mountains, as beautiful as they are this time of year, offer only a pale shadow of the glory that is a New England autumn.

I’m opening myself up to a good tar and feathering by saying that, but it’s true. Anyone who has witnessed autumn in both places knows this. I’m not dissing the South. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else and I love it. But when it comes to autumnal beauty, it can’t hold a candle to New England.

When I was a kid, fall meant Sunday football and the scent of New England boiled dinner wafting through the house—ham, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, seasoned as only my mama could do. Autumn meant crunchy walks in warm sweaters and swirling eddies of whispering leaves, wood smoke curling from chimneys and melding with the loamy scent of Earth preparing for hibernation. Autumn was rolling hills covered in innumerable shades of red, orange, and gold so vibrant it hurt your eyes and made you believe in God.

I miss those New England autumns. I miss the scents and colors and evoked emotions. I do not miss the harsh winters that followed those autumns, and that is perhaps one of the main reasons I’ve come to embrace the South. The fall here may be muted by comparison, but the winter is easier to handle.

In a perfect world, I’d have a home in the mountains where autumn shows a strong and glorious face, and also a home at the beach where an ocean sunrise would begin my days. Nothing brings me closer to God than being embraced by those things. I’d divide my time according to temperature and season. Maybe one day my husband and I will find a way to achieve that balance.

In the meantime, I’ll take what I can get, which includes the onset of glorious fall days. A trip to the North Georgia Mountains is in my future, because even though it isn’t autumn in New England, the beauty to be found is still breathtaking. It is time now for cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice, and the creeping of Halloween into yards and onto front porches. It is time for digging out boots and sweaters, lighting lanterns, and breathing deeply of summer’s last kiss.

What are your favorite memories of autumn? To help you think, I’m sharing a recipe for pumpkin latte offered by Julianne Hough via her Facebook page.

• 1 cup of black coffee or black tea
• 2/3 cup evaporated milk
• 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
• 2 teaspoons of honey
• 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine coffee or tea, milk, real pumpkin, sweetener or honey, pumpkin spice and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Stir slowly while it gets hot. Pour into two mugs and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional).

Have a wonderful week, and may your first day of autumn bring you joyful reflections.

~ Lisa

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20 Responses to "Joyful Reflections: Autumn and Summer’s Last Kiss"

  1. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    September 21, 2016 at 9:18 am  

    Well, that was beautifully written, Lisa! (Though as things are going around here, the kids might be trick-or-treating in shorts and flip flops! 🙂 )

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:37 am  

      Haha…you’re right! I remember years ago having to bundle the young ‘uns up for Halloween. That hasn’t been the case for many years now.

  2. Comment by Pat
    September 21, 2016 at 9:31 am  

    Love, love, fall. At the end of a hot summer, I’m longing for the crisp air of autumn and the anticipation of all my favorite holidays so close I can almost touch them.

    I can’t think of a more glorious month than October. Clear blue sky, bright sun, beautiful leaves, and the need to dig out a light jacket for the first time in a long time, because the air is so refreshingly cool. Sigh…

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:38 am  

      Yes! 🙂

  3. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    September 21, 2016 at 10:40 am  

    I also miss fall at times but I don’t miss winter at all. I’ve come to realize that even in Florida there are changes from one season to the next; it’s just much more subtle.

    I’m grateful for pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread returning to the menus of some of our favorite restaurants. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:39 am  

      You’ve mentioned that before. What you lack in autumn you make up for with beach, though. lol Hard to argue with the beach. 🙂

  4. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    September 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm  

    Oh be still my heart. I have always wanted to take a leaf peeper trip. I will one day. You have captured New England autumn with your words. Are you all suffering from a gas shortage where you are?

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:41 am  

      I’m not sure how to answer that. In some areas the shortage was fairly profound and in others, not so much. Earlier in the week there were gas stations with all pumps empty, and others with gas but higher prices. I haven’t noted long lines or anything of that nature. I filled up straightaway and am still in good shape, so I haven’t paid much attention to the grumbling.

  5. Comment by MerCyn
    September 21, 2016 at 5:58 pm  

    I love fall. The crisp, clear air, vibrant colors, warm air with a touch of chill occasionally, veggies, lightweight clothes but no bathing suits, but don’t like days growing shorter. Lazy summer days morph into frantic times as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December madness rolls around, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:42 am  

      Neither would I. I especially love wearing boots, and I’m ready. 🙂

  6. Comment by claudia mundell
    September 21, 2016 at 6:27 pm  

    Such a lovely blog to read today! I did not know you were from New England. Yes, I like the changing seasons, but weary quickly of winter usually. I love autumn and it always goes so fast!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:44 am  

      Autumn does seem to be the short season, maybe because it’s so busy. And yes, I’m a New England girl, lived in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, left at 18. I’ve been in the South longer—26 years and counting.

  7. Comment by Stephanie Trietsch
    September 21, 2016 at 7:37 pm  

    Friday night football, homecoming bonfires, pumpkin EVERYTHING (today I found pumpkin BelVitas, Oreos, granola and coffee). We’re at Amicalola Falls camping and it’s warm days and cool nights.

    I grew up in East Texas which is flora and fauna similar. More often than not you know it’s fall when a BIG wind knocks all the leaves off the trees, the cold kills the giant grasshoppers ’til next year and cowboys put up their white and straw hats and bring out the back felt!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 12:45 am  

      Did I know you’re a Texan? We lived in Richardson, north of Dallas, for about a year or so. Enjoyed it. I envy you being at Amicalola. Love it up there. I see a hiking trip in my near future. 🙂

  8. Comment by Sioux
    September 22, 2016 at 6:31 am  

    Lisa–Your 4th paragraph reads like a poem. I especially loved the “swirling eddies” image.

    Since it’s been in the 90’s for the past week, I’m looking forward to crisp, cool weather… to having to wear sweaters… to leaves crunching under my feet when Radar and I go for a walk… and yes, later in the year, I look forward to some snow days. For me, that is proof there is a God. 😉

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 22, 2016 at 8:00 am  

      Thanks! That’s a real compliment, as I don’t consider myself much of a poet. The truth is that autumn gives me the warm fuzzies, and I guess that came out in my writing. 🙂 It is still hot as the devil here, too. Hoping we see cooler temps by the middle of October, and definitely toward the end of the month when I drag the hubster into the mountains for our annual trek to see the leaves. It just isn’t the same if I’m not in boots and a sweater.

  9. Comment by Karen Lange
    September 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm  

    A New England fall – yes, I get it! The intensity of color is amazing. Fall makes a good showing here in north central KY, but I still hope someday we can do a road trip to upstate NY and surrounding areas during the peak times. Happy autumn! 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 25, 2016 at 8:19 am  

      You too, Karen. 🙂

  10. Comment by Donna Volkenannt
    September 25, 2016 at 10:01 am  

    Such a lovely time of year. I lived in Western Massachusetts for more than four years, and the autumns there were breathtaking. Here in the Midwest we have lovely falls, too, but they can’t compare with the blazing colors of the white birch trees on a crisp day.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 28, 2016 at 5:59 pm  

      I couldn’t agree more, Donna. And now you’ve made me think of one of my favorite Ansel Adams photos. 🙂

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