The Quiet Beauty Of Autumn


“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more in memory than in life.” ~P.D. James

The beauty of autumn

So many people seem to hate the fall. They lament the loss of summer and its warm weather, dread the start of school, hate the end of vacationing season. Me? I think the fun’s just getting started. All my life I’ve preferred the cooler months (I often have wanted to set the earth to a permanent range of 40-60 degree temperatures). Spring and summer’s beauty are easily seen and easily appreciated. To find the similar glory in fall and winter, one has to look a little closer.

Autumn hillside

Today was as picture-perfect an autumn day as one could want, maybe one of those that did exist rather than just in the imagination. The morning was suitably cool and crisp, maybe in the lower 40s. No frost, as it’s been warmer than average, but a nice layer of condensation on the windows. The yard has become, by this time, a crunchy brown carpet of fallen leaves which I refuse to rake until at least December. That’s part of the season.

The trees are magnificent in November. Shades of red and gold and burnt orange, where was green a month earlier. Literally leaching out their chlorophyll for the next year. And there’s the hushed whisper of rustling leaves, almost as if they’re reminding one another that winter is only a month or so away.

So too are the animals busy this time of year. The squirrels most of all, literally squirreling away acorns and other edibles for the long winter, while still taking a moment to scamper after one another through the forest undergrowth. There are deer, rutting males and females along with the weanlings. Buzzards waiting like an undertaker’s convention along a sandy strip of land for their next customer. And always, the crows. Perhaps no sound is as evocative of autumn as the persistent cawing of a lone crow.

Lovely shades of autumn

Along with the sights and sounds, there’s the smells. Pumpkin spice candles are the most wonderful invention under $5, I’m convinced. Then there’s freshly mulled cider, spiced pears, candy corn, hayfields, cinnamon…so many delicious smells. Now that everyone is spending more time indoors and DST has ended, all the more time to enjoy them. For the record, I normally hate Thanksgiving, but it sure has its share of delectable smells (croissant rolls, anyone?)

I know a lot of people dislike autumn because they see it as a time of dying. In the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, it was the time the goddess of spring left her mother, Demeter, for a six-month stay in the Underworld. Instead of a time of death, it is only a time of respite, for the Earth to exhale a deep sigh and go into re-charging mode until April.

I see it that way too. For me, it’s the start of six months of stark beauty, of early sunsets, trees silhouetted against a pale blue sky, cold winds blown down from the northern climates. I know I’m not going to starve (I’ve been squirreling away cans of soup and stew for those afternoons when I want to watch football and not leave the house). I have to wear extra layers since a plain t-shirt just won’t cut it, but that also means I get to wear my Murdock jacket. It’s all good.

For each of these quiet mornings, I’m grateful. They are just perfect for an Aspie…and perfect for anyone who wants to take time out to rediscover how beautiful this planet can be.

Got comments? I’d love to hear them. Drop me a line at WikusandMurdock@yahoo.com!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on November 14, 2010.

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