Autumn is here! Oh, melancholy, you came too!

Autumn is here, and it makes me feel very, very happy.

Indeed, I consider that as soon as the temperature outside becomes lower than 10°C, I can rightfully hide under a ton of blankets, scroll Tumblr – Everyone knows Tumblr loves fall… see: autumn on Tumblr) -, read regressive books – Harry Potter anyone? – and drink so much Chai Tea that I need to pee twelve times a day. To make it short, I become a child again. But why? Well, Autumn makes us want to do things we do not usually do, and I think I have found an explanation for this weird mood: we have to fight melancholy, aka “spleen”, the feeling that comes hand in hand with autumn.

Let me explain myself. Autumn is a transitional season, and we are affected by the sudden change of weather and temperature. Indeed, the return of cold days tends to make people sad and nostalgic. This feeling is found in many romantic novels and poetry of the nineteenth century, but it has first been named by  the french poet and critic Charles Baudelaire in Les Fleurs du Mal. Baudelaire calls it “spleen”. Wait, no! Not the organ. But what is the connexion between melancholy and the organ called “spleen”?

Well, humorism explains it all. Humorism is a philosophical and medicinal system based on the fluids found in the human body. The predominance of one of the four fluids corresponds to one of four temperaments. Maybe a table will help you:

Humour Season Element Organ Qualities Ancient name Ancient characteristics
Blood spring air heart warm & moist sanguine courageous, hopeful, playful, carefree
Yellow bile summer fire liver warm & dry choleric ambitious, leader-like, restless, easily angered
Black bile autumn earth spleen cold & dry melancholic despondent, quiet, analytical, serious
Phlegm winter water brain cold & moist phlegmatic calm, thoughtful, patient, peaceful

See? Black bile. Black bile is produced by the spleen, and its season is autumn. Melancholy, for ages, has been associated with autumn. And my best way to deal with melancholy is to become a child again. That way, I feel protected and I don’t worry about any responsibilities. But there is a million ways to deal with melancholy, for example doing sport, seeing family, but also drinking alcohol- which I do not recommend, exception made for mulled wine, here is a nice recipe–  or drawing.

If you have no idea how to overcome your nostalgic mood, you can:

1. Go to the movies! GQ magazine made a list of the movies you don’t want to miss this fall.

2. Go for a walk! Go hiking! You can even use this tree guide to identify the beautiful trees you walk by.

3. Go shopping! I swear, it works every time. Chunky sweaters… Cosy cardigans… Oversize wool coats… Are you already drooling?

4. Sleep. There is no better way to be in a good mood.

5. Read/watch Harry Potter/The Lord of the Ring/Narnia/a Marvel movie/every movie that can propel you in another world.

To conclude, here is a beautiful poem by Carl Sandburg, Autumn Movement, 1908:

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.


The Dilettante