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.
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
Gillian at Tales from a happy house.
CJ at Above the River
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.