Ontario, CanadaYou’ve heard me say repeatedly how much I thrive on “new beginnings,” so you can imagine the buzz I feel following Labour Day when school begins and the evenings begin to crisp.

Autumn is my favourite “new beginning.” Besides the “back to school” phenomenon affecting kids, parents, teachers, the economy ~ I love the way autumn looks here in Southern Ontario.

I am happy to bid Summer adieu…

In autumn, the temperatures are vigorous and brisk ~ perfect walking weather. The days seem divinely bright with clear, with skies more than just blue. They’re cloudless, often the brilliant blue of cornflowers. There is not much humidity, except during the occasional hot spell ~ Nature’s goodnight summer kiss as we head into the long, bleak, frigid cold, grey winter.

Since we moved just over six weeks ago, every morning, before we eat breakfast, my dogs and I go for a speedy 40-minute walk through the winding lanes, crescents and parks of our heavily treed new neighbourhood. We have no alternative, even on rainy days. Our little housette (a condominium townhouse) has no enclosed backyard.

Lucy and Riley, my Dandie Dinmont Terriers need their exercise to function. They’re also hardwired to chase squirrels and the odd rabbit or raccoon. Or small vermin. So we walk ~ or run, depending any little animal they spot and dream of catching. I’ve become a walker, and sporadic runner. My pace depends on them.

When we arrive home, refreshed, Riley wolfs down his kibble, Lucy scrapes her bowl immaculately and  then they both chill for most of the day. As for me, I feel energized as I sit down with my husband to read the morning paper, discuss the news and eat my regular breakfast of oatmeal and fruit or vegetables ~ the latter, when I crave something savoury.

Walking my dogs to health…

This new regime of mine ~ walking my dogs three times a day ~ first thing in the morning, last thing at night and sometime in between ~ has transformed my metabolism and worked wonders on my mental state. I’m walking my dogs to health. My blood pressure has dropped dramatically. My blood pressure medication has been cut in half. I sleep better and more deeply. I’m fitter, trimmer, and, if you can believe it, a little calmer, despite the chaos of this past dreadful summer.

School started yesterday and …

My first class of the semester was yesterday. I had no vacation at all. The first class is always the most challenging. Mine was a hit, as far as I can tell. And time with tell. I had such a good time with my students who seem simply delightful. I think they had a fun, too, as we began our 14-week journey together. Always an adventure.

In short, I feel like a new person.

Beyond all this, though, and best of all, there are the magnificent, truly breathtaking Fall Colours. The leaves, which haven’t yet begun to change colour ~ or loose their colour. I relish them every year. I never tire of them. Autumn colours are my favourite. Earth tones. Halloween colours. Yellow. Ever changing and glowing. Always at their best for our Thanksgiving. Here, in Canada, it’s the second Monday in October. Harvest time. Monday, October 11, this year.

Back to “new beginnings”…

Today, the first day of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. “The head of the year.”

I would like to wish you all L’shana tova tikatevu. In Hebrew, that means “Happy New Year and May Your Name Be Inscribed in the Book of Life.” It means, to me, family gatherings and apples and honey, and good wishes and fun times. It means new notebooks and warmer clothes. Leather instead of linen. Turning the air conditioning off and opening the windows. Sleeping soundly and breathing deeply.

It’s an energizing time of year with so much promise. I love this time of year.

Last week, at our “Welcome Back” meeting at Seneca College, one of the deans said, this is a time to “Renew, Reflect and Refresh.”

How those words resonated with me…

I like to stay in the present and look forward, so reflection, for me, isn’t about the past so much as what is happening now in my life. What can I do to improve things. Now. To do things better. Now. To make more of my life. Now. To be able to weather the worst. And most of all, find joy in the little things I love to do, like walking my dogs.

“Now” is my favourite word…

This past summer, I learned that I can embrace new challenges and how desperately I need to make meaning of things. It was a good summer, upon reflection.

So, I am grateful to be here.  To be getting into a new groove, a fresh rhythm.To finding my flow.

Again. With you.


May your new year be sweet, successful and serene…