Maples Giving Forth Light

November 17, 2014

“The maples give forth light, like closer suns.  The oaks glow with garnet fire, and all the thickets blaze with scarlets and pale gold and cinnamon.   It is like the music of a trumpet.”
— Gladys Tabor, Stillmeadow Daybook

Glowing maple leaves, November

Glowing maple leaves, November

“The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can.”
—  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from “Christobel”

Everything is On the Run

November 1, 2014

My daughter running through fall leaves, 1991

My daughter running through fall leaves, 1991

Fall Wind
by Aileen Fisher

Everything is on the run —
willows swishing in the sun,
branches full of dip and sway,
falling leaves that race away,
pine trees tossing on the hill —
nothing’s quiet, nothing’s still,
all the sky is full of song:
“Winter’s coming. Won’t be long.”

Everything Falls

October 30, 2014

“It is the fall.  And everything falls — not just the leaves.  The temperature falls as the earth again tilts away from the sun.  Darkness falls more quickly as the days shorten.  Plants droop and dry up and break apart.  Trees fall into dormancy and stop growing.  Their leaves and seeds fall into the cool air, and then to the ground, where they will rot and root and become something new.  This is the season of decay — a word that means “to fall away” — to return to your constituent parts, to what you are made of.”
— Tom Montgomery Fate, Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild

 

Watercolor sketch of fallen leaves

Watercolor sketch of fallen leaves

Circle of fall leaves, watercolor sketch

Circle of fall leaves, watercolor sketch

I was captivated by how these leaves were changing color from tip to stem

I was captivated by how these leaves were changing color from tip to stem

Watercolor sketch, circle of fall leaves

Watercolor sketch, circle of fall leaves

 

 

The Sound of September

September 30, 2014

“Sometimes I like to be alone and listen to the sound of leaves about to fall, which is the sound of September.”
— Gladys Tabor, Stillmeadow Daybook

Watercolor sketch of fall leaves

Watercolor sketch of fall leaves

“October is the month of painted leaves.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “October, or Autumnal Tints”

Watercolor sketch of October leaves

Watercolor sketch of October leaves

 

“The thing about trees is that they know what to do.  When a leaf loses its color, it’s not because its time is up and it’s dying, it’s because the tree is taking back into itself the nutrients the leaf’s been holding in reserve for it, out there on the twig, and why leaves change color in autumn is because the tree is preparing for winter, it’s filling itself with its own stored health so it can withstand the season.  Then, clever tree, it literally pushes the used leaf off with the growth that’s coming behind it.  But because that growth has to protect itself through winter too, the tree fills the little wound in its branch or twig where the leaf was with a protective corky stuff that seals it against cold and bacteria.  Otherwise every leaf lost would be an open wound on a tree and a single tree would be covered in thousands of little wounds.”
— Ali Smith, Artful

Oak leaves beginning to change color

Oak leaves beginning to change color

Watercolor sketch of oak leaves

Watercolor sketch of oak leaves

 

 

Happy Autumn!

I’ve always found acorns to be quintessential symbols of autumn.  I enjoy painting them.

Watercolor sketch of five acorns

Watercolor sketch of five acorns

Watercolor sketch of another variety of acorn

Watercolor sketch of another variety of acorn

 Acorn
by Valerie Worth, from All the Small Poems and Fourteen More

An acorn
Fits perfectly
Into its shingled
Cup, with a stick
Attached
At the top.

Its polished
Nut curves
In the shape
Of a drop, drawn
Down to a thorn
At the tip,

And its heart
Holds folded
Thick white fat
From which
A marvelous
Tree grows up:

I think no better
Invention or
Mechanical trick
Could ever
Be bought
In a shop.

 

 

Back in July, I posted a mini-series called “Walking the Color Wheel.”  As I walked around Seattle, I paid special attention to the colors of summer — reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and purples.  With this post, I’ll take you around the color wheel again to share my enjoyment of the colors of autumn.

Red is the color of maple leaves.

Red globe amaranthus

Orange pumpkin

Orange-colored dahlia

Yellow hypericum

Fall foliage in yellows near Manson, WA

Hairy green chestnut burrs

Pelargonium leaves

(Occasional) blue skies

Late, fading hydrangea

Purplish hydrangea

Purple dahlia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mighty Columbia River from Hwy 97 approaching Chelan, WA

“Travel alerts the eye and humbles the hand.  Its final destination is radiance: to be transported . . .”
— Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

“The hunger for wonder is appeased by nothing as it is satisfied by travel.”
— Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

I spent the first few days of this week in eastern Washington (east of the Cascade Mountains) in Chelan at a work conference.  I was able to arrive early, on Saturday, and spend two days there with my husband before settling in to work.  Other than a long-ago boat trip down Lake Chelan to Stehekin many years ago, I had not spent any time in Chelan.  So it was fun to explore.  We drove along the lake shore on both sides of the lake until the roads dead ended.  The area is surrounded by dry hills and mountains, yet water is a central feature of the landscape — both Lake Chelan and the Columbia River dominate the views.  We drove along rural roads dotted with vineyards and orchards.  And even though it was cloudy and rainy at times, we did find plenty of radiance in the fall colors.  My hunger for wonder was appeased.

Here are some photos:

Historic mural in the town of Chelan

Rows of blueberry bushes, Blueberry Hills Farm, Manson, WA

Old farm implements, Blueberry Hills Farm

Radiance in a row of yellow trees at the top of a distant hill, Manson, WA

Small lakes nestled in the hills around Manson, WA

Fall reflections in Dry Lake near Manson

Further along Dry Lake’s shoreline

Grape vines covered with netting

At Atam Vineyard near Manson, WA

Grapes, Atam Vineyard

Golden color in a ravine across Lake Chelan

Picnic tables at Lake Chelan State Park — very quiet this time of year

Lake Chelan with clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Lake in autumn

Scarlet and yellow,
Golden and brown,
Winds of October
Blow all the leaves down.
Tear from the branches
Their curtains and spread
Carpets of color
Beneath them instead.
Glittering with rain
Or ablaze in the sun,
Falling in showers
Or dropped one by one.
Scarlet and yellow,
Golden and brown,
Winds of October
Blow the leaves down.

As far as I know, this is one of the few times that I am repeating a poem that I have previously posted on this blog!  I still can’t find the author of this poem, which I first read in a Waldorf school parenting class.  It certainly fits the landscape around Green Lake this week.

Foot path at Green Lake

Fall foliage at Green Lake

Carpets of color

Curtains of red against green and yellow

On the path at Green Lake on a windy October day

Fallen black walnut among the leaves

Winds of October, wild sky over Green Lake