Friday, November 3, 2017

A Tale of Autumn's Light

If you listen to painters, they are obsessed with color and light.  Well, if you listen to stories of artists, that's what they talk about.  Me, being a word instead of a picture person, I didn't understand what they meant.  Color is color, light is light, right?  You either have it or you don't.  Then I took a look at Autumn around here and I began to see what all the fuss was about. The qualities of light vary, hues change and the infinite combinations can blow your mind.  Then, I began to think that if we are made in God's image, then the Supreme Being is also the Supreme Painter and autumn is when all the crayons come out of the box to vary the leaves with the light.

The light of Autumn has its own peculiar illumination.  If Winter is a pale, fluorescent bulb, and arc lights imitate summer, then Fall is like Edison's first bulbs, full of amber, dim, uncertain illumination.  And when that yellow, watery light comes up underneath the clouds and hits the variegated leaves, the foliage seems to....glow.


For example, my neighbor has this incredible tree that puts on a show every year. (By the way, we don't "plant" trees in my neighborhood; Nature does that on her own. What we do is continually clear enough new growth to keep a road to the house.) Well before the other leaves turn, this one shimmers first from green to yellow, then orange to red, signaling the show is about to start.  And even on a grey day, this thing stands out a mile. Now get a load of this view...


This was taken during a rainstorm, but can you see how the peachy-amber of my neighbor's yard reflects the light?  To me, this is Nature worth watching.  Our autumn foliage season hits a little later than most, starting just before Halloween and peaking around Veteran's Day, so the store's outdoor holiday displays can sometimes look a bit schizophrenic, juxtaposing fake snow and Santa Clauses on top of blazing autumn leaves.  So, it's best to ignore what the merchandising calendar for now and take in what this area really shows: radiant color and unearthly light.

For the next few weeks, these colors will intensify as the light dims and yellows until Thanksgiving's sunrise will seem to set the trees aflame.  Then, in one fell swoop, most of the leaves will darken and plummet (never all of them) leaving bare branches and us back in winter.  But that isn't today.

Today is part of the planet's annual fireworks show, all color, and light. Today is when Nature is Art.  And I want to see everything in the exhibit.