The autumn that isn’t…

What’s wrong with this picture?

October 23, 2018

Right. October 23. The middle of autumn. WHERE ARE THE FALL COLORS?

I’m told that in some places it’s Autumn As Usual. The reds are red. The golds are gold.

But here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the trees either have green leaves or none.

This same picture from our back porch taken October 28, 2013:

SIGH. Not only are the skies gray, and the garden is finished, and the temperatures are in the forties, there are no bright autumn colors to cheer us and make this transition from summer to winter easier.

Some experts have predicted that maybe next week the leaves will turn. That the abundant rain in August and the warm temperatures in early October caused the leaves to keep producing chlorophyll, which keeps them green.

I remember as a kid asking about why the leaves were turning colors when we hadn’t had any cold temperatures yet. I was informed (by a science teacher) that it wasn’t the temperature, but the lesser daylight of fall that made the trees stop producing chlorophyll. Kind of makes me wonder what other misinformation I was given…

So I’ve done some research on this (read Googling why leaves turn color). The SUNY College of Environment and Forestry says, “Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors.” The website Earthsky.org notes, “Autumn seasons with a lot of sunny days and cold nights will have the brightest colors.” No wonder I was confused…

So with the lack of beautiful autumn photos to show you, I’ll post some pictures of what we’ve been doing for the last three months.

The back porch was mostly finished just in time for Labor Day.

The No-Fun Rule was in effect all summer, so we took a deferred vacation in early October to the Napa Valley. If your kids don’t live nearby, they should at least live in a great place to visit.

 

 

Thankful and blessed. Yes that’s what I’m feeling as I look over these photos. Despite no extravagant fall colors.

Instead I brought the fall colors inside to my living room.

There’s always a way to find joy.

what i don’t want you to know

field of thistles

i could live without people,
a hermit on a lonely mountain
foraging in fields singing back to the birds
and whispering to the spiders spinning,
spilling hummingbird words that only i
have heard.

 

 

fuchsia flowers
i could be that crazy old lady in the falling-down house,
feeding ten feral cats
yelling at the children to scat from my yard,
but breathing sweet nothings to the riotous
fuchsia azaleas blooming in the hidden
garden.

 

 

 


i could be the wild-haired recluse in the book-filled garret,
smelling of old books and parchment
overflowing and piled high,
never leaving the house until all the heaps of paper are
crammed full of strands of words and the pens
run dry.

Shoes of Fear

The cottage on Apple Hill Road was getting a new roof.

Ladders leaned against every side safely tied off
by the safety supervisor.

ladder on unpainted house

I bend to untie knotted shoestrings of fear that
keep me tethered to solid ground.

I boldly step barefoot onto the rung. Fear is banished,
no longer in command.

I will walk the slope of the roof, stand at the peak
in glorious freedom and joy.

From there I will leap to the dark swaying branches
of the oak that sweeps to the sky.

Tree in spring

swiftly swiftly now climbing enveloped in the sheltering radiance
of sun drenched leaves and waving ripples of wind and blue,
tendril arms reach to dark limbs, feet find footholds and crevices
that only eagles have known.
toes curl around the top branches outstretched arms grow feathers
head thrown back in victory mouth gulping the liquid drops of air
the sun rays are heat and flames scorching my face
and i dare not look down.

redwoods and sky

this breadth of view this heaven of angels, of muses, of clarity;
Do Not Fear the angels say each time they meet a mortal.
They know we fear their wings their otherness
their instructions
of impossibility.
but each time we unstrap those shoes of fear (no matter how stylish the heel or brilliantly cunning the color)
and run barefoot on the shards of a cracked life,
God shouts with joy, the angels cheer
and the beast retreats into the ground.

Armstrong Redwood Forest