How to Enjoy Autumn the Nordic Way
Updated: Apr 26
Autumn can be a season of colourful splendour, or grey skies and rain. In Norway, you never quite know what you are going to get, except that the evenings get longer and days get shorter, but that is no excuse to hole up inside and wait for the grey weather to pass. When I first came to Norway I found autumns a shock that dragged on for months with days that never seemed to get fully light. But I made a conscious decision to try to make the most of the beauty of the season and embrace the Nordic philosophy of getting outdoors in every weather and suddenly I was able to enjoy autumn (and every season) so much more.
My single piece of advice to make the most of autumn would be to get outside. Put on the right clothes for the season and get out, be it a 5 minute stroll or a 10km hike or simply standing outside your front door at a quiet moment (sunrise or sunset can't be beaten). It is incredibly good for our mental health and helps us really appreciate what we have around us and live within. Small beauties are everywhere - a colourful leaf, a tree full of flaming foliage, or a few berries, earlier sunsets and golden skies. If you are in nature and take a few minutes to stop and look, you will find it. You may live in a rural area or somewhere more metropolitan but there is nature everywhere you look.
Some ways to discover the beauty of autumn:
Take a walk in your neighbourhood and appreciate the colours of the foliage. When you take a moment to appreciate it and really look, there are all the colours of the rainbow.
Forage! Autumn is truly the forager's friend and by far my favourite time of year. There is nothing that brings more dread into my partners life than to hear me exclaim "Mushroom season has started!!" Now is the time for an abundance of berries, mushrooms and nuts. Of course, only pick and eat what you are completely sure of. Maybe you are a seasoned forager who needs to find their way back to the foragers path, or someone who is a novice. There are many excellent foraging courses you can sign up to (many are available online) and are a fun activity even if you never intend to eat the fruit of your labours.
Change your menu. Autumn is the time to introduce seasonal produce into your diet. Berries, nuts and warming dishes are perfect for those longer colder evenings when you feel more like cosying up. Maybe you're adventurous enough to try my risgrøt recipe.
Don't forget the "hygge". We don't take a hike in Norway (or in my case, often even a short walk) without something to warm us up on the inside. Fill a flask with hot chocolate or coffee or tea, pack a few cookies (after a walk, you deserve it!) or some hotdogs that you can grill en route and make every trip a special event to give you that warm cosy feeling.
Light a candle on your dinner table or in your window. There is something so comforting and warming about a flickering flame.
Consider adding some small everyday luxuries to your routine. It might be something as simple as a beautiful bar of soap, a cup of tea in a lovely cup and saucer, or enjoying dinner with your family on a particular day.
Discover the magic of the night sky. As the nights get longer and the evenings arrive earlier, the autumn night sky is a wonderful treasure to reacquaint yourself with. My family loves the Star Walk 2 app. It shows the night sky from your GPS position in real time and is fun and easy to interpret direct from your phone or tablet.
Don't forget it's the small pleasures that make life memorable and in testing times more bearable.
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