Autumn is a Season

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Growing up near Buffalo, New York, fall was my favorite season. Fall there is made up of rich hues of red, orange, yellow, green, and brown. I loved the crisp air, playing soccer, watching football, jumping in leaves, and watching nature’s amazing paintings all around me. I spent last fall in New Mexico and the 14 before that in Pelham near New York City.

Vermont apple farm in Autumn

In Pelham there was a tree outside my window that would change to a light orange and a nature trail that had a few trees that would turn yellow, but it wasn’t the same as Buffalo. So every fall Pearson and I would take a weekend trip to Rhode Island or Lake Placid or Cape Cod or the Finger Lakes and day trips to pick apples in the Catskills or the Hudson Valley. I would search for the perfect view to take a picture that would allow me to capture autumn and bring it back to Pelham to savor it, but I could never get it. We had great trips and made wonderful memories, but I wanted the autumn that I remembered and every year I was disappointed. Over time I convinced myself that it didn’t really exist, that fall was only made perfect in my memory.

Deer with autumn colors in field

This year we are spending fall on the New York/Vermont border, in peak leaf peeping territory. So now I know that the autumn I was searching for doesn’t exist. You can see the foliage for an afternoon, but that isn’t autumn. Autumn is not a view or a picture, it is the experience over time. It’s watching the trees change shade by shade and the leaves fall and the mountains explode with vibrancy and blur and fade into a muted tapestry. It’s feeling the chill, smelling the air change, hearing the kids on the soccer field, and tasting the hot cider. In 15 years I’ve forgotten that, forgotten that fall was my favorite season not my favorite view or my favorite afternoon. This year I’ve realized that you can’t bottle autumn, you can’t preserve it in a picture, it has to be experienced. And the only way to capture it is with your memory, that’s the way all good things are saved.

Sculpture and Vermont Green Mountains in Autumn

September 28th

Sculpture and Vermont Green Mountains in Autumn

October 5th

Sculpture and Vermont Green Mountains in Autumn

October 12th

Sculpture and Vermont Green Mountains in Autumn

October 20th

Right now I’m seeing fall in the best way possible. I get to see it as someone who used to know, but has forgotten. My eyes aren’t fresh, they are awakened.

Autumn in New York

The best photos I’ve taken this fall have been on the spur of the moment with my phone. And maybe they’re only good to me, because when I look at them, I remember.

IMG_4870 Bright Orange tree in Autumn  Fall foliage reflecting in the Walloomsac River New York farm in Autumn

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