Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Summer turns to Autumn

This stand of trees on Viewmont always catches my attention because the leaves are the first to appear in late winter and also the first to turn red when other trees are still sporting the rich green of late summer. This photograph was taken several weeks ago and by now, these trees are almost completely "turned". It won't be long before they are empty of all their leaves. But, in mid-February, they will sprout out with early growth while the rest of their deciduous companions are offering only bald limbs and branches. For whatever reason, these trees are on an accelerated timetable.

There's no denying that autumn is coming. The light "changed" over a month ago. This phenomena catches me off guard each year, seeming to arrive sooner each season or else I may just be more astute to the subtle beginnings. I defy anyone to really describe just what it means for the light to "change". Although I've heard others describe it in various ways such as a "softening of the light", there are no words in my vocabulary that adequately capture what I see on those bright mornings in mid August when the light rather suddenly turns the Seattle skyline into a new place. This phenomenon is purely visual; words fall short and never seem to stand up to exactly what we witness at this time of year.

I often feel a sense of despair when the light changes, dreading the arrival of shorter days, longer nights and the end of the pumped up energy of summer. This year however, I feel an acceptance and welcome the turning leaves, the cooler air, the low hanging clouds. Bring it on.

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