Autumn’s Red Hues

October 18, 2013

“We love to see any redness in the vegetation of the temperate zone.  It is the color of colors.”
— Henry David Thoreau, October, or Autumnal Tints

Looking down the street where I live

Looking down the street where I live

“As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”
— Henry David Thoreau, October, or Autumnal Tints

We are certainly seeing the sunset colors of October in our Seattle foliage right now.  These are some of the things I see as I walk around my neighborhood:
Looking down Corliss Ave N


Jeweled leaves on bushes

Jeweled leaves on bushes


Canna leaf

Grape leaves with grapes

Carpet of red

by Edward Hirsch

Fall, falling, fallen. That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

3 Responses to “Autumn’s Red Hues”

  1. camilla wells paynter Says:

    Spectacular! That shot with the garages is great–like they’re on FIRE! How well Hirsch describes that moment in late summer when you get your first “sense” of fall. Nice post!

  2. Chris Says:

    Just gorgeous!

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