Autumn Leaves

I just love the colors of Autumn!

I prefer the word Autumn to the American term of Fall. Autumn conjures up visions of fiery red and golden yellow leaves, tawny grass and orange pumpkins. Fall, on the other hand, merely summons up a picture of me lying sprawled on my back on the ice last winter. It’s such a negative word! You can be heading for a fall, watch the stock prices fall (as my husband is always pointing out to me), fall out with people or fall by the wayside. No, I think I’ll stick to Autumn!

Every year I make my Autumn pilgrimage to the Morton Arboretum and I realized recently, looking back on all the photos that I’ve ever taken there, that I’m shooting the same scene, the same tree year after year. But its not the same, is it. Oh, it’s the same trunk, the same branches, maybe a bit bigger than the year before, but the leaves are different. They’re not the same leaves that were there last year. A new party frock, granted the same color but seen in perhaps a slightly different light, a little gaudier than last Autumn or a tad more subdued depending on the weather.

I’ve tried to vary my Autumn shots to include close-ups of leaves on the ground, floating on water, clinging to life on the end of a twig, swirling through the air or patterned against a clear blue sky.  The trick is to take them so they don’t look too contrived. And to be honest, some of them are. Nature doesn’t always look the way we would like it to and there are times when you have to improvise. I remember my dear mother standing off-camera, hurling armfuls of leaves into the air while I tried to catch them on film floating gracefully to the ground, exhorting her to “Chuck ‘em up higher! HIGHER!!”

But it’s not just how the leaves look in Autumn that is so captivating. It’s the sound they make too. The crunch as you kick through them on a walk through the woods, the rustling, skittering noise they make as the wind blows them hither and yon, the swish as you rake them into a pile on the side of the road to await collection by the village vacuum cleaner.

Buy a kid the most expensive toys and they won’t have half as much fun with them as playing in a drift of crackling Autumn leaves.

Soon they’ll all be gone but isn’t it nice to know that in the Spring the cycle will begin all over again and we can look forward to a new harvest of Autumn leaves.

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3 thoughts on “Autumn Leaves

  1. Great post! You are so right about Autumn v Fall. I am guilty of folding and using the word Fall more than Autumn, but you are right. It is a much more poetic and evocative word.

  2. Although I’ve lived in central Texas for 35 years, I still miss the widespread changing of the leaves that I grew up with in New York. I’ve learned to make do with the smaller but still brilliant patches of color that can be found in this warmer climate, most reliably from the flameleaf sumacs:

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/fall-color/

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/flaming-fruit-and-leaves/

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