BY AGAVNI MEHRABI
Print News Editor
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected what going back-to-school has looked like, one event that has not changed has been the arrival of the fall season. Senior Paola Vazquez-Salvati said the activities she has associated with fall continue to serve as annual traditions she can depend on despite the uncertainty of everything else.
“Although I can’t go to pumpkin patches, I still find a way to make my own at my house, and I try to make the most of the activities at home to keep the fall spirit alive,” Salvati said. “I still get to make my home and room cozy during the season, and the best thing is the recent rain has made it even cozier.”
Language Arts teacher Cecilia Fonseca said while she may not have decorated for Halloween this year due to COVID-19, many other autumn activities help her feel closer to the season. She said she always looks forward to pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed roasting with her family every year.
“We have decided not to decorate this year, as I think it’s a kind of tease to decorate the house and then to not give candy, but Halloween is also one of my favorite holidays, as it is not stressful, you get to decorate the outside of the house and you get to see little people asking for candy,” Fonseca said. “I [had] never carved a pumpkin until I got married, and then it became a fun tradition.”
Despite its annual appearance, junior Nicole Arajuo said the fall season is not just a part of routine. She said she values it as a distinguished period of time that remains moderate in temperature yet unlike any other season in culture, identifiable by its chilly breezes, colorful leaves, blue skies and festivities like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
“Fall seems to be the Wednesday of the seasons, meaning that it’s not cold and barren like winter, but it’s not green and warm like spring or summer,” Arajuo said. “It’s also my favorite [because] it has its own cozy vibes.”
Salvati said concepts she associates with autumn culture include colorful leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, donuts, knitted sweaters and campfires, as well as activities like going to pumpkin patches, apple picking and going on hayrides. She said her favorite of all of these is the sweater fashion.
“I love fashion, wearing sweaters and cozying up to a nice apple cider and a book,” Salvati said. “I don’t dislike anything about fall, but I guess my least favorite part would be when it ends.”
Fonseca said she enjoys autumn as an educator because of the way it marks the beginning of a fresh school year and appreciates it in general for its atmospheric qualities. She said she has always valued it as a season, especially after the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“Because I have been a teacher pretty much all my life, autumn for me is the beginning of the year – as opposed to January 1st,” Fonseca said. “In addition, I lived in Philadelphia during college, and I absolutely loved the way the trees changed their color.”
Arajuo said she believes these little shifts in environment are essential to carrying out the autumn lifestyle. She said she experienced the impact of cool winds, leaf littered grass and comfortable climate when she first travelled to Kentucky.
“The trees were golds, reds and browns, and it was a pretty sight,” Arajuo said. “I feel the atmosphere is important; the trees don’t have to be gold and red, but the weather has to be lower than 90°F for it to truly feel like fall.”
Similarly, Salvati said visiting Central Park in New York City had opened her eyes to the atmosphere of fall. She said although the seasonal changes back home in South Florida are a little less pronounced, she makes up for it by decorating her room with fake leaves and pumpkins, buying fall-themed scented candles at Bath and Body Works, listening to a homemade autumn-inspired playlist and making autumn-style videos on her YouTube channel.
“It felt so nice walking around Central Park with a nice sweater on, hearing the crunch of the leaves and feeling the crisp air on my face, and I loved it so much [that] it makes me want to go back,” Salvati said. “Although it’s quite sad there’s no autumn here in Florida, I try to incorporate it in my life as much as possible.”