Autumn Colors? Time to Prepare for Winter!

Changing Leaves

Changing Leaves © 2011 Bo Mackison

Everything in life is speaking, is audible, is communicating in spite of its apparent silence.  ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

In autumn, the colors of nature are what speak to me. They tell me to pay attention, remind me that what I saw yesterday or earlier this morning may well  disappear into nothingness by noon. Autumn is the ultimate reminder that nothing remains the same, that change is a constant, that though we may hold treasures in our hands today, tomorrow our hands may be empty.

Autumn is the season of preparation. While it is good to live in the moment, not ignoring today while waiting for tomorrow or next month or next year to be more worthy of our attention, it’s always wise to prepare for the coming change in weather.

Just as I prepare my exterior world for the change in seasons, I also find it necessary to prepare my interior world. I know from experience that if I am ready for the autumn and winter seasons, I can enjoy the beauty of the seasons more and fret less about the unpleasant aspects of the shorter, colder days. So in October I do my “winter is coming checklist” and then I don’t have to go out for supplies in bad weather or do without.

So what is on my getting ready for winter list? Things that make the coming of colder days less uncomfortable and more enjoyable:

  • I check my closet for my outdoor clothes, especially the ones I need quickly when I want to go on an outdoor shoot. Also the ones that always seem to get misplaced in March and never found. Where is my warmer raincoat, that sturdy umbrella, those waterproof boots for when November’s cold rains and sleet appear? And my heavyweight wool hiking socks. I also have a pair of very thin, very flexible gloves that I purchased a winter sports specialty store. I can wear these when the temps drop and still fully operate my camera. When I’m not shooting, I usually have a warmer pair of mittens over the lightweight gloves. While my camera can withstand cold temperatures and still function, my fingers cannot. I am a terrible photographer – impatient and cranky – when my fingers are cold, or frozen, or numb.
  • I pull out an old plastic container and fill it with spare winter items – several pairs of gloves and mittens, both thin and thick, a scarf, extra wool hiking socks, an old pair of sneakers, a sweater or sweatshirt. I add some packaged snack items – fruit sticks, granola bars, some bottled water. A plastic raincoat from the dollar store. Hand warmers that heat when taken out of their plastic packaging. Then I store it in my car. I am always happy to have this box when I need dry shoes and socks for the drive home, or when I’ve lingered too long in the country and I need a quick drink and snack. This is one thing I am very fussy about — I always make sure to refill my box when I use an item.
  • Then I check my kitchen pantry to make sure I have some quick warm-me-up, comfort foods. A few cans of soup, a fresh variety of tea bags, a couple of packages of hot chocolate mix for those really dreary days. And I check my supplies of oatmeal and brown sugar, too. As long as I have oatmeal, I know I can fix a warm satisfying meal in minutes. Yep, I’ve eaten oatmeal for supper many times after an afternoon photo session in the cold.
  • I make sure I have light bulbs in all the proper sizes and wattage. I want my rooms well-lit when it is dark and dreary outside. And I also know where my flashlights, extra batteries, and matches are.
  • Finally, I have my chimney inspected. I don’t need any surprises in November when I want to use my fireplace. And I check my supply of wood AND make sure no critters have decided to build their winter abode using my woodpile. There’s nothing finer than a roaring wood fire after a winter excursion, or even on a lazy Sunday afternoon when the most I’ve done that day is read the Sunday paper.

Those are the basics I do in October. Maybe you live in warmer climes, and need to adapt your list for your environment.Maybe winter doesn’t show up until December at your home, but I know better…

See what happens when the leaves change colors? It triggers my winter preparation mode. Always a good thing when one lives in Wisconsin.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Sometimes she gets distracted, and writes long blog posts about preparing for the change in seasons. Hey, she has seen the snow fly in mid-October, and get deep and sloppy by Halloween. Better to be prepared… 🙂

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. That’s a great list, Bo! Being a southerner, I was particularly impressed with the bag you prepare for your car. Great idea, and no doubt a necessity in your neck o’ the woods! I am crazy about today’s photo!!! It is a stunner! The colors are so unexpected.

  2. Fall – now’s the time to get the skis cleaned & waxed; make sure the bindings are working properly and find the ski clothes. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. That photo is a true tribute to fall Bo

  4. Wonderful and unusual colors in the leaves.
    Thanks for the idea of preparing for winter–especially the supply box for the car.

  5. Joanne Keevers says:

    Bo, this post is so interesting to me! It shows yet again the huge contrast between our hemispheres. I don’t even own a pair of gloves, but enjoy wearing scarves occasionally, just for the fun of it more than anything.

    We can always manage a trip to our local store for food. The worst thing that could happen is we may have a flood, but we can still get to the most important locations even then.

    I’d really love to experience a full-on winter, just as you do. You probably think I’m crazy saying that, but to me it would be a whole new experience. 🙂

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