From Pherans To ‘Flowers’ in Fall: Eight Favourite Things About Autumn


Exactly eight years ago I moved from England to the USA.

It was around this time of the year, I was getting acquainted with the nature of American politics, (remember Sarah Palin? Oh how things have changed!), trying to figure out being married (I was a newly wed, but this is still kind of happening 8 years on) and trying not to say ‘…but in England we do it like this’ after every few sentences….

I made a lot of new discoveries  that year, (Americans have no idea what ‘tea’ means ) but one of my more peculiar observation was the American penchant for holiday decor. The kind of Halloween decor I saw on a walk around my block rivalled any haunted house fun fair ride I had seen in England. While there would always be that one house on the street that went a bit ‘far out’ with the Christmas lights and inflatable Santa in the sleepy Lincolnshire village I grew up in. In the USA, well in New York anyway, there was no such thing as ‘far out’.

I was to go on to see inflatable snowmen being replaced by valentine stickers on garage doors and heart shaped wreaths on front doors being replaced by bunnies and eggs of Easter Time …the eggs would give way to the Stars and Stripes of the Fourth of July and …. soon pumpkins started appearing on door steps.

Now I secretly kind of liked the pumpkins and one day found myself coming home with a gourd. Not for cooking purposes but  because it ‘looked cute’. Was this my first step of assimilation into the American culture?!

Eight years on and I will tell you what I do love about this place and definitely don’t miss about England.

The fall.

For a long time I refused to call it ‘Fall’. ‘Autumn’, I would say with deliberation, is such a beautiful word with a subtle spelling and grace, it is almost onomatopoeic. Put it in front of any colour and you infuse that colour with a warmth and depth of smoke and fire. Autumn Red, Autumn Green,  even Autumn Blue paints such a blue sky in my mind complete with the white trail left by a jet plane.


I soon lost this English snobbery with the ‘right’ version of a word (namely the British one). Having kids will do that to you. It just seemed so silly. Fall is a great word to describe Autumn. And really America had the best Fall. It is  totally and utterly my most FAVOURITE time of the year ever. You can keep your apple blossoms (and pollen ) and snow days are fun for about four minutes. But give me Autumn any day. I must admit, It was never a childhood favourite, in England autumn is less crunchy leaves on the ground and more squelchy mess due to the rain, but here? The leaves really were crunchy, the days full of sunshine and blue skies, it was just like the movies.

(Can you guess one thing I don’t miss about England is the weather?)

There are so many things I love about Fall, both in New York where we first lived and here in New England where we now are. I wait for and relish this time of the year! Here are some of my favourite things that make me fall in love with this season year after year …

On Autumnal Quotes … 



Everybody has a Favourite Fall quote right?

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.” (Chapter 6 Verse 59)

‘Not a leaf falls but that He knows it.’ Isn’t this the most profound autumn ‘quote’? It was one of the first things I remember my parents teaching me as a six year old, and I am still as awed by the thought of it as I was then.

On Pumpkin Decor!


Huge, 3-4 Kg pumpkins and …



… And little tiny ones …


I never thought I would find myself painting a pumpkin either! If you don’t understand it’s ok, its an American thing … I think!



On Leaves And Blossoms 



One of the things I miss about New York is our neighbour’s tree. this spectacular tree gave the most magnificient foilage. It was not a huge tree just of average size, but I would feel it  a real blessing we got to have it so close to our window. I would stare at it while rocking my baby for his nap. Don’t the leaves almost look like blossoms?


‘Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower’ 

(Albert Camus)


On Autumn Picnics 


When the breeze is beautiful and the sunshine just enough, it’s the loveliest season to have those last picnics of the year! My son’s school, holds a school-wide picnic in October every year.


On one such picnic I ‘made’   ‘Jack O Lantern’ Tangerines for the class! Ok show me a kid who wouldn’t want one of these! (Yes its as easy as it looks – scissors, glue and black paper!)

On Fall Crafts 


Talking of school, no American childhood is complete without a pre-schooler pumpkin craft!

On The Most Beautiful ‘Cozy’ Wear 


Can one be ‘cozy’ and stylish? You can with the right shawl! And what better shawl than the world famous Kashmiri shawls? I wait all year for when I can take them out.


 Another, lesser known piece of traditional Kashmiri clothing is the ‘Pheran’. Shawls and Pherans are a hijabi’s dream. The pheran is a long cloak like outer garment that is very popular in the valley of Kashmir. Worn both by men and women, old and young, it is a real symbol of kashmiriness! I love the ones made of soft wool with traditional embroidery around the neck for everyday wear with a pair of jeans and some cute shoes. If you’d like to see more Pheran inspiration see  here . 


Another shawl and pheran combo.


 Oh… yeah and those cute shoes! I resist socks for as long as is physically possible!

On Seasonal Fruits


Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, but the king of them all, described in the Quran itself as a fruit of paradise ~ Pomegranates!


Costco starts stocking their Pom brand Pomegranates from October. It’s  a sad day in this household when pomegranate season ends.

And The Sweetest Thing … 


My babies are both fall babies … one early fall and one late fall. I love to commemorate the ‘teli belly’ in some small way. (Note the pheran making another appearance here?)


This little ‘teli belly baby’ will be turning three soon!

I know we have readers from all around the world (yay!) so autumn might not be part of everyone’s seasons this year, but I hope you have enjoyed a peek into ours!


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  • Reply Nikki September 30, 2016 at 12:11 am

    My dear Sister .. I love your beautiful descriptive of the American Autumn… Fall.
    Please explain though if you can why it’s called Fall ? I always wondered as I grew up as most Brits in Eighties watching those Afternoon American movies with the tree lined avenues filled with redenning autumn leaves, why autumn is called Fall.?
    Is it really as simple as this is when leaves and lingering fruits do fall from tres or am I oversimplifying ?

    • Reply Sumaya October 7, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Haha! Those movies! I know exactly what you mean. I think it really is as simple as what you say… although I have never looked into it. I also assumed Fall = leaves ‘falling’.

  • Reply Mariam September 28, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Love love love this! From colors of fall to beautiful shawls! N yes the transition from being English to American( note how ‘colour’ changed to ‘color’).. The American decor was something that even my Dad noticed when he visited us around Christmas ( having lived in Britain for quite sometime, he was surprised at the crlebration of a festivity itself:)

    N i ABSOLUTELY love pink shawl! Remind me next time when you are going to Kashmir:)

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