Thursday, October 1, 2009

Acknowleding the season

This is a bit of creative writing that I've debated whether to share or not. I finally decided to go for it. I've embellished it with a few photo illustrations I made in Photoshop years ago. Please let me know what you think (criticisms are always welcome here). Thank you.

When spring migration kicks off in April, I get so excited. After months of cold temperatures and gray skies, the sweet singing of the arriving migrants begins. These avian friends, who finally see fit to leave their warm wintering grounds to grace our still chilled woods, put pep in my step for weeks on end with their melodies. It's easy to get excited about spring for lots of reasons. Longer days, shorter nights, warmer temperatures, blooming flowers and trees, brightly colored birds... everything is waking up after months of dormancy.

Getting excited about fall, however, takes a little more effort. I'm reluctant to part with summer and its long-lingering daylight (true, parting is such sweet sorrow). The heat and humidity I have no problem bidding farewell, but the shortening days just break my heart. And so I have to look to other aspects of the changing season to find its true worth.

For example...
I love the fog that settles in the valleys overnight, and the way it diffuses the day's first light and illuminates every cobweb.
I love the unmistakable smell in the air - a combination of newly fallen leaves and the intensified perfume of damp earth.
I love the changing landscape as the trees melt into their finest colors before disrobing for their long winter's nap.
And I love the smell of smoke as the human inhabitants of these hills put their first logs on the fire to ward off the cool northwest winds.

While spring is a time of newness and excitement, with bright life around every corner, the waning days of autumn bring a sense of slowing down, of contemplation. There is a renewed sense of appreciation for the cycle of life as plants go dormant and animals hibernate, and a sense of peace unknown during other seasons. The rustle of walking through crisp leaves will eventually give way to quiet padding over snow-covered ground. Quiet. Stillness. In the air, and in my mind.

After such consideration, I am ready for fall.


Gabrielle said...

I'm glad you decided to share this - it is lovely! My mind was a jumble of millions of extraneous things as I started to read and then it slowed down and your words and the mood sunk in and now I feel all relaxed and soothed. Thank you.

Monika said...

Thanks for sharing this Heather. My recent posts have been focusing on the transitions of the seasons, too. I totally agree that fall is harder to get excited about than spring, but while I've been mourning the shortening days your post reminds me to enjoy the little things that make fall special in its own right!

Ginnymo said...

Fall is my favorite time of year. It's the coolness of the mornings and the colors and mostly because now I can see further into the woods again!! Nice post Heather!!

Heather said...

Gabrielle - Thank you for your feedback, it was really helpful. I'm glad you liked it.

Monika - It seems that many of us dislike the shorter days of fall and winter (it makes for less time to play outside!). I'm always very happy when the winter solstice comes and goes! Glad you enjoyed the post.

Ginny - You bring up a good point of being able to see better with the leaves off the trees - a very important advantage of the season.

Carol Mattingly said...

Heather nice job on both counts. Carol

Heather said...

Carol - Thank you so much.

Meg said...

Heather, I LOVED this post! Beautiful writing and images both.
"the intensified perfume of damp earth."
I love this phrase--it captures the sensory experience (one that I happen to love) so well.

Fall does have that tinge of melancholy in addition to glorious beauty--a fine subject for art!
Thank you for sharing this--and please don't hold back on us in the future : )

Kelly said...

Heather....this post was lovely and beautiful. I really enjoyed walking with you through the transition. I fight autumn very hard at the beginning of October, I'm in the beginning of the appreciation stage......I fall right along with you!

Heather said...

Meg - Thank you so much for your feedback. I am glad to know from you (and others) that the sensory references and the cadence of the piece came across as I had hoped, as well as the overall feeling. Thanks for your encouragement.

Kelly - Thank you. We seem to have the same timing in regards to how the season "settles" with us.