Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Color Collaborative: November: Leaf


I have this theory that when I was born, in the month of November, autumn leaves must have been one of the first things I saw. My parents were driving home from the hospital, maybe, with me in yesteryear's precursor to a car seat, the car bed. It could have been a ruby-red dogwood (I was born in Georgia). Or a gracious, old golden-brown oak. Maybe they'd taken me outside, to sit in autumn sunshine on the front steps of their townhouse; the complex was surrounded by oak trees and named for the mighty species itself. I'm sure I saw a tree in full autumn splendor and thought, "There. That is what a tree is supposed to look like," the image etched on my baby mind. I've watched and waited for the trees in my world to match the ones in my head ever since.


I feel differently when the trees are wearing their full autumn palette. I have a sense of relaxation and satisfaction - righteousness, even - when the world around me bursts into fiery color. To me, it's as strong a sign of the circle of life as the springtime bloom is. We can't have a splendid spring without changing, falling autumn leaves. I just learned the other day, listening to the fascinating book Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival with my children, that trees already have their new leaf buds before the old leaves fall. I think this confirms my feelings: trees need autumn and so do we.

Image from here


Most of my childhood was spent in New York, where the fall color is especially beautiful. Every year, leaf-peepers pour into the area, coming to drink in the autumn color. Some locals seemed to take it for granted, barely noticing the colors after a lifetime of them. I always looked forward to it. As a child, my bedroom faced the backyard, where there was a huge maple tree. The leaves turned bright golden yellow in fall, with red edges and veins. The whole backyard seemed to glow, and my bedroom did too. I had pink walls when I was very young, and the tree made them orange. Later, my walls were white and the whole room glowed golden. I remember lying on my bed on fall days, studying or reading, and looking up every now and then just to remind myself - that tree was real, flaming each October just outside my window. Lucky girl.


Now I live in a place where fall color is less dramatic but still exciting to me. We don't have very many maples here. Bright red and orange trees are less common, though we do have a few which go red in autumn. Yellow is the dominant color here, and I think it's just as beautiful as red. Aspens, ashes, cottonwoods and locusts all turn a brilliant yellow-gold. It happens gradually, one bough at a time. Other trees, such as sycamores and oaks, go straight to tan or brown, which can be pretty too. It's the change that I appreciate, even if the colors do not dazzle. It's the marking of time that I have come to love, the inexorable march toward a new season, a different perspective and an altered landscape.


I've been warned that I won't always enjoy this, but I'll worry about that later. For now, I'm relishing autumn, the season of my birth and the one in which I feel most sharply attuned to my environment.  I feel at ease, gratified and contented in this time of year. I was born to it, after all.

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  Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

29 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written and insightful post. I love the colours of Autumn too and even though I still don't enjoy the cold weather, I do look forward to the trees changing their colours evey year. x Elle

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  2. Hi Jennifer! What a beautiful post! Like you I can't wait to see the trees changing colours! Though this year it began much later than normal. Also the weather was still warmer than normal. I think the seasons appear to be shifting! I also love bright red leaves! I remember making leaf collages when I was a kid, first collecting and then glueing the leaves onto paper. :)
    Thanks for sharing this!
    Ingrid xx
    http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  3. I don't see why you shouldn't always like autumn as it is the time of your birth as you say! I love the changing colours of the leaves and all that it brings with the changing of the seasons. xx

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  4. What a beautiful post. I'm a summer girl myself but I do love the colours of autumn, it's just the weather I'm not so keen on.

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  5. lovely lovely post! i don't think i'll ever tire of the magic of autumn.....i think you'll always love it. how could you not? it's your birthright!!!! enjoy!

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  6. Such beautiful photos! I really enjoyed this post.

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  7. Jennifer,
    Seriously you've made me shed tears. A wonderfully evocative and beautiful post. Trees hold an unending fascination for me. When I was little I would climb the apple tree in our garden. My parents would take us to woods and a place called Westonbirt Arboretum during the Autumn.
    Loved this so much. Thank you.
    Leanne xx

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  8. I like your theory, I was born in Autumn too and this season is my favourite, it fills me with joy and excitement for the year ahead and I find it to be the most cozy, enjoyable and comforting time! Maybe that's because I was born to it too! x

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  9. I love the fact that the new buds are waiting in the wings! As a spring lover that is a wonderful thought!
    Lovely to hear your autumn descriptions of the different states you have lived in. :)
    V x

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  10. I don't think there will ever be a time in my life where I don't enjoy autumn. Being an autumn baby myself I love the changes it brings. Lovely post, the tree in your parents garden sounds beautiful.

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  11. I think that somebody who loves autumn, will always be loving it... Don't worry that your love for autumn will stop, it will not !

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  12. Beautiful post, Jennifer! I think it is so important for us to observe and enjoy our natural surroundings, and there is no better season to do that in than fall. I love the vision of you as girl glancing out to check the tree in your backyard. It sounds like that tree was, in a sense, your security blanket.

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  13. Apparently it was snowing when I was born, so I guess one of the first things I saw was snow. I am basically on leaf watch from September to December and never tire of it - autumn seems more astonishing and beautiful to me than spring. I read somewhere that all bloggers love autumn. I think it's probably true. :-) xx

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  14. Beautiful Autumn photos - I do love them. My husband bought me a maple tree this year. It is called 'Crimson King' (I think the name appealed to him more than anything as it was so similar to King Crimson!), He bought it in Spring when it had a few small buds and I had high hopes for it as I do love maples. Tragically, its leaves are a really dark purple and my longed for Autumn leaves look more like bat wings! x

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  15. Beautiful photos showing the amazing autumn colours. We have a copper beech hedge at the back of our house and it glows in autumn. Spectacular really.

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  16. Such a beautiful post, I love the Autumn too
    Clare xx

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  17. Beautiful post Jennifer! The Autumn color is amazing :)))

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  18. Such a beautiful post from the heart. I really enjoyed it.

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  19. Gorgeous pictures and a beautiful post. Your love of the season shines through.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  20. As a girl with an October birthday ... yes! ... I know exactly what you mean.

    Only yesterday I was looking at a fairly close-to photograph I'd taken of the last few leaves on a branch and noticed the tiny proto-buds, it looked a little odd really, kinda right and wrong - buds in autumn - at the same time.

    Lovely post as always Jennifer x

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  21. This is certainly one of my favorites of your posts, Jennifer. It not only helped me to know you better, but it helped me find even more we have in common; and it satisfied that part of me that appreciates beauty, learning and array of common feelings. Thank you for the gift. It is priceless, and you should be paid royally for freely sharing it! xx

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  22. What a wonderful post , so insightful and lovely to read. I so love how you write from the heart.

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  23. Loved this.....And how sweet was the part about you being shown a beautiful leaf when you were born! You were very lucky to grow up with that maple and your parents did a good job sharing nature with you as you feel it so deeply! Your photographs are beautiful!!!! Happy weekend to you!! Nicole xoxo

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  24. *H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* And you got some nifty keen images of leaves, my friend!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  25. That is a very good theory! And a lovely post too :)

    S x

    PS Happy Birthday!

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  26. Having lived most of my life in a tropical country, it's taken me awhile to get used to the changing seasons. I still don't enjoy the cold but I now appreciate the beautiful colours and other good things about autumn. Thanks for sharing with us your love for this season. Have a great weekend and happy birthday! x

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  27. Lovely post. I too was born in November and I love Autumn. I once had a bedroom where I could see up into the leaves of a tree when I was in bed and I have always said that one day I will have a bedroom like that again. For now I will have to make do with sky and clouds.

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  28. "It's the marking of time that I have come to love, the inexorable march toward a new season, a different perspective and an altered landscape."

    What profound and beautiful writing and your images complement it perfectly. I too love spring and autumn - the seasons of transition from bareness to luxuriance and back.

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