The turn of leaves takes me back to my English classroom long long ago, sitting and reading John Keats’ Ode to Autumn written in 1819.
“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, – “
Rhetorical as it is, the question posed by the poet reminds me of the passage of time and the beauty that each season brings. The rich sensual imagery of bees satiated by honey and apples hanging low on the branches, ripe and juicy, makes me acknowledge that even though the best may be over, the best is also yet to come. The turn of the season shortens days as the cool breeze begins to blow through alleyways and the leaves turn to golden browns, burnished reds and burnt oranges. The rustle of trees shedding their leaves mingles with the twitter of the swallows making early exits. As the sun sets against the evening haze, my heart lurches. It’s a feeling that is difficult to describe. Another transition, another subtle moment. The late dawn and early dusk recap that humans are the only ones marking time. The natural world with its flora and fauna embraces the transformation knowing full well that summer has offered plenty so the autumn can ease us into the tranquility of winter.
Unlike the East Coast where nature’s feisty show of resplendent yellows, golds, reds, oranges and greens exhibit themselves as best of show, fall in the Southern California foothills has a brief stint. Every leaf may not become a burnished flower, but there are enough to create a smattering of color peppering the greens and browns of the sometimes arid land. The wistful leaves of the golden gingkos wave demurely, the suntanned sycamores line every street corner and the blonde birches gracefully stretch and sway with the wind that laces through their branches. The colors enhance the glory of the perennial stalwart oaks and the towering, dark, stately and somber cypresses. Short, but beautiful. I would love to visit the east coast but in this stay-at-home environment, I take what I get. Short and beautiful – learning to live between summers.
Autumn Leaves was created as a watercolor collage with Japanese washi paper.