Falling for Fall

III. NATURE XXVIII. AUTUMN by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown;

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown.

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

I chose this short and sweet Dickinson poem to share this week because it honestly made me chuckle at how relevant it still is!

Dickinson writes of all these beautiful things she’s observing about autumn through the use of personification (giving objects human qualities or attributes). For example, the berry has “cheeks” which are “plumper,” and both the maple and field are wearing metaphorical clothes that exemplify the colors and feel of the fall season.

And–for fear of being “old-fashioned”–Dickinson decides to be like the festively attired foliage and add some sort of adornment (which she calls a “trinket”) to her look. We aren’t told what exactly that trinket might be, but taking inspiration from nature’s vibrant colors feels very familiar to me. A quick glance at my social media feeds this week, and one can see the rampant obsession with fall attire, the warm tones of the changing leaves, and pumpkin-spice flavored everything. I guess Ms. Dickinson was onto something. 😉

We’re quite lucky here in Oregon because our falls are beautiful. This week has been exceptionally so, with sunny blue skies contrasting the bright yellow and orange leaves that are my absolute favorite this time of year.

I also decided that it was the perfect opportunity to go back to brunette! The talented Nichole, who owns Sweet Pea Salon and Spa, took me back to a dark brown color very close to my natural one.

Dress: TJ Maxx (similar styles in neutral colors here and here) Scarf: BP (similar here and here) Boots: Blondo Purse: Prada (similar styles here and here) Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

I love tall boots paired with dresses, and it’s a look that I think is perfect for breezy fall days. This charcoal-colored dress is a TJ Maxx find from awhile back, but I’ve linked some great basic dresses above. Of course black dresses are versatile staples for one’s wardrobe, but I also love gray, navy, and olive for other neutral options.

My knee-high boots are from Blondo, which is truly one of my favorite shoe companies. Their shoes are stylish, comfortable, and waterproof (SO practical and functional for the rainy Oregon climate!).

My exact BP scarf is unfortunately no longer available on Nordstrom’s website, but I’ve linked some great fall scarves above.

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! Thank you for stopping by!

Hope Is Where the Heart Is

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“Hope” is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
 
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
 
 
This is one of Dickinson’s more famous poems, and it’s short and sweet. It utilizes a simple–yet beautiful–extended metaphor: hope is a bird. And this bird, she claims, resides in our souls and never stops singing its melody. The bird’s song is sweetest during harsh winds and storms, signifying that difficult days are when hope truly means the most.
 
She’s heard the bird in the worst of times (“in the chillest land” and “on the strangest sea”), and yet this bird has never “asked a crumb” of her, has never demanded to be fed. It’s self-sustaining and sings on in our hearts, warming us from the inside out, even in our darkest hours.
 
I love literature that explores the resilience of the human spirit, the stories or poems that ponder: where do we get our hope? Where do we get the strength to journey on? Despite this poem’s brevity, it explores those very questions.
 
However, I’ll be honest; I struggle a bit with the last two lines–the notion that hope demands nothing of us. The Oxford English Dictionary defines hope as the “desire for a particular thing to happen.” It’s a desire for something that isn’t concrete or hasn’t yet come to pass.
 
And sure–I love the image of a resilient little bird singing in our souls, rooting us on, keeping our spirits up. But we’ve all been there, haven’t we? A time in our life when something felt hopeless?
 
When I was nine years old, my dad was in a horrific car accident. He hit black ice and went over an embankment. He was ejected from his vehicle, broke his neck in two places, ruptured organs, and was close to death. At first the doctors said that if he lived, he’d likely be a quadriplegic. And of course I wanted him to live more than anything, but I couldn’t imagine him not doing all the things he loved ever again–playing in his basketball league, waterskiing in the summer, going on runs while I rode my little pink bike just ahead of him. At nine years old, those were thoughts that filled my head, because those things were such a huge part of who he was, the things that made him my dad.
 
Months went by, and he had numerous complications. But his neck surgery had been a success, and he slowly learned to walk again. There were so many times when things felt hopeless, but something I admire most about my dad is that he never gives up. He’s stubborn to a fault, and he never loses hope. Yet it’s a choice he makes every day, even now–years and years later–to carry on with a hopeful heart in spite of his chronic pain and ongoing health issues.
 
This is exactly why I would assert that maintaining hope and continuing onward in one’s endeavor, whatever it may be, is an act of courage–because that elusive thing we yearn for is not certain or guaranteed. Though the bird may always be singing, we still have to hear it and choose to embrace its song.
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Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here, here, and hereBlazer: Philosophy (similar here and hereHeels: Nine West (similar here and hereEarrings: Chanel Lip Color: Birthday Suit by Tarte
 
I really loved the colorful jumpsuit I wore on Easter Sunday! It was chilly here in Portland and–though I briefly contemplated wearing a dress–I was so glad I chose something that kept my legs warm.
 
I’m a big fan of jumpsuits–they have a certain cool factor for sure, but probably what I enjoy most is I feel like I’m wearing pajamas! Granted, some of the more form-fitting ones can be a bit constricting, but the wide-legged variety like the one I wore on Easter is so comfortable. When you can merge comfort and fashion, it’s truly a win-win. This particular one was a TJ Maxx find, so I linked several similar striped options above.
 
I think jumpsuits can be a great alternative to dresses for events like bridal showers, birthday brunches, and tropical getaways. They come in so many fabrics and silhouettes that there are countless options available. Since it’s a one-piece, my advice from personal experience is to move around in it before you decide to buy it. I have a long torso for example, and sometimes I have to size up to accommodate that.
 
On Easter morning when the weather was even cooler, I paired it with a crisp white blazer (shown below), which I think is such a versatile piece for spring and summer. (Also, if anyone is wondering, the bunny ears are from Target!)
 
I’m excited about the next several blog posts I have in the works–I’ll be sharing some great local restaurants, what I wore to the theatre, and a new jewelry partnership! Stay tuned, and I wish you all a wonderful week!
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The Edge of Spring

img_1292A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring

Not present on the Year

At any other period –

When March is scarcely here

 

A Color stands abroad

On Solitary Fields

That Science cannot overtake

But Human Nature feels.

 

It waits upon the Lawn,

It shows the furthest Tree

Upon the furthest Slope you know

It almost speaks to you.

 

Then as Horizons step

Or Noons report away

Without the Formula of sound

It passes and we stay –

 

A quality of loss

Affecting our Content

As Trade had suddenly encroached

Upon a Sacrament.

 

This Emily Dickinson poem captures that moment when, in early March, we’re on the cusp of spring–the days are growing longer, the nights not quite so cold, and some flowers are already in bloom.

Dickinson specifically discusses light in this poem and the powerful effect it has on both nature and people come springtime–the very word is in the title, and it’s the “it” she speaks of in the third stanza that “waits upon the Lawn,” “shows the furthest Tree,” and “almost speaks to you.” This repetition highlights the word’s importance: light is life-giving. In spring it renews our health and our spirits, and nature is reborn.

In the final two stanzas she refers to the loss of light and how its absence breeds discontent–sometimes how we feel during the gray, gloomy days of winter. As such, the poem seems to end on a more somber note, especially contrasted with the hopeful tone of the earlier lines.

This makes me wonder, quite simply, “why?” Why end a poem about the special light of spring in such a way? Looking at the poem altogether, Dickinson appears to be contemplating the intricate relationship between nature and people (something that is truly a common musing amongst poets–all three of the other writers that I’ve discussed on past posts have numerous poems on nature and our place within it).

Seasons change and affect our moods, our activities, our lives–and how we choose to spend them. I feel that she’s commenting on the impermanence of things–light comes and goes, just as all seasons do. But there’s something unique about the bright light of spring after the darkness of winter because of all the hope and beauty that it brings.

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Ruana: BP (similar color palette here and here)  Pants: Jolt (similar style ponte pants here and here)  Hat: Kyi Kyi Classic Faux Fur Beanie  Boots: Ugg Australia (similar here)

With one foot in winter and one in spring, it’s that in-between time of year when the weather is at its most temperamental (especially in the Pacific Northwest!). Yet this in-between time produces some of my favorite conditions up in the mountains–blue sky, scattered clouds, and fresh powder. My husband and I took advantage of these perfect conditions to hit the slopes earlier this week at beautiful Mt. Hood. He’s a far better snowboarder than I am, but we always have a blast!

This is what I wore on the drive up there, and this soft ruana (also known as a poncho or wrap) I purchased on sale from Nordstrom after Christmas. Wraps are ideal attire for that awkward transition from winter to spring, when layering is key for unpredictable weather. I love the black and gray checkered pattern of this one, and it also happens to be reversible! I will definitely be wearing it on future travels because it looks stylish but has all the coziness of a beloved blanket.

I adore beanies with oversized pom poms, and this faux fur one by Kyi Kyi was a Nordstrom Rack find over the holidays (I found it still available online directly from the Kyi Kyi website). My waterproof ankle boots are by Ugg Australia and are unfortunately sold out, but I linked a very similar Ugg option above.

Happy Friday, everyone!