Autumn Leaves

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Abbey of the Arts has a great blog and great commenters. Here is a comment, about autumn leaves, from Kigen:

The new vibrant hues are the “original nature” so to speak of the leaf. The green leaf in spring is actually a masking of that original color by the influx of chlorophyll. When the chlorophyll is no longer secreted in autumn we see the true colors of the leaf.
That just rocks my socks, dear reader. Almost makes me jealous that many people are in the throes of autumn. Almost, but not really. I'll sit where I am, thanks very much, where the light is stretching out, trying to finger midnight.

This past winter though was the easiest one I have had for years. Every year that passes and my health improves, it is becoming easier to bear. Certainly it went faster than other years. My art therapist loves winter, lives on Mount Dandenong which is always 5 degrees colder than where I am, and often rainy and dark. She likes the inwardness, appreciates the closeness, the upswing in creativity that comes for her at that time of year. For me, having such disordered circadian rhythms, I need the overabundance of summer light to truly feel alive and most energetic. Perhaps as I regain more energy I shall revere it less. But summer will always spell freedom to me personally. And yet, listening to Maggie's take on the darkest of months, I think I am beginning to enter into a bit more of an appreciation for the mystery of death, the undergroundedness of it, you know? In a world where the true colour of leaves are those that swell our hearts in autumn, everything shifts.

So my appreciation for winter has renewed somewhat, our standoff diminished a point or two. I think listening to Maggie whilst in the midst of the environment of the Dandenong Ranges once a fortnight has done something to alter that. The mystery is on display there in a way it cannot be in the suburbs. I feel, in my bones, one day I shall live there. I was up that way last night, actually, at Ruby's Lounge in Belgrave, seeing some live music. It was great; there is something about listening to music fresh out of the oven that does something calming to my soul. Plants my feet further into the earth somehow.

So I sit here paying homage to autumn and winter when its almost summer. What is wrong with me? I guess I just have a renewed appreciation for everything belonging, you know? All the seasons speak to us in different ways. Now, autumn will speak to me even louder than it already does. Our true natures on display most when living next door to the season of death, the melancholy and fear that can overwhelm if we miss the redemptive beauty existing even in death. My freedom in summer can be diminished if I contemplate the inevitable onrush of winter, the gradual slide down into diminished hours. But I want to embrace it all, because it all matters. It all matters in a world where everything, love and life and melancholia and death, have been enfolded in the arms of grace. Surely in such a space we can all learn to straddle the redemption of the dark.

Pic: from the garden and camera of Kentster


  1. Cheers to your health!!!

    I'm enjoying this season this year too because the sun has been shining more than not.

    Last year the leaves turned brown and the world around us looked wet and dreary with rain almost every day and gray the rest. This fall has been surreal in it's unveiling.

    Last week we had leaves falling off the trees like snow coming down - for some minutes straight. Life is glorious in those moments.

  2. You know how I feel about winter. But I will say we have had a gorgeous low moon lately...and there is something eerily calling to me about mountains with snow on them and naked trees and wind. I swear I was a druid in a past life.

  3. me? - I like all the seasons, we are on a rock revolving around the sun ... 6 odd billion people rolled into one.

  4. Today it rains and the city trucks came by (finally) to remove the accumulated dead leaves off the street. It is turning into winter here. The very cycles are so beautiful and one cannot exist without the other. Around here, we remain in a kind of tension until the first significant snowfall. Your post was lovely today, really lovely.

  5. lovely words Sue, sounds like your art therapist and I are cut from the same cloth. Everything she said about winter is exactly how I feel too. But I do sympathize with those who struggle with dark days. And I love your celebration of the gift of every season. "Surely in such a space we can all learn to straddle the redemption of the dark" - amen.

  6. Kent - the photo too :)

    Jennifer - "This fall has been surreal in it's unveiling" - awwww, nice :) I like the Celtic idea that that time of the year is one of the "thin" times when the veil between the two worlds is especially thin

    Erin - a druid and a reincarnated one at that. You are such a little heretic. Better be careful or anonymous will be back and flannel graph smash you :) Mountains and snow and naked trees and wind. Ooooh, nice :) Are you far from the amazing forests of Portland? Do you ever visit them?

    Mork - that's a good attitude :) I hope to be able to enjoy all the seasons, but I do fall down in Winter without light therapy and stuff.

    Barbara - thank you. I don't know about that tension before the snow because it doesn't get cold enough to snow here. It must be both wonderful and really irritating all at the same time :)

    Christine - lucky you. I really do envy that kind of enfolding into winter. May we all learn to straddle the dark's redemption :)

  7. wonderful post! i'm a "summer" girl myself, but with great people like kigen and christine around extolling the virtues of fall and winter, i find myself enjoying the depth of the seasons much more, too!!

  8. Well considering I live IN Portland, I'd say not far at all. What amazing forests are those? Just our trees and such...or did you have something specific in mind?

    Oh and I'm wearing my anti-flannelgraph suit, so I'm safe.

  9. oooo, that pic really captures fall, Kenster : ) good one

    Gosh Sue, I REALLY appreciate all you say in the last paragraph... thanx

  10. Erin - I thought Oregon had some of the oldest trees in the world? Go and hug one for me, would ya? :)

    Manuela - glad it spoke to you :)

  11. Old growth forests, yes we have those. Not so much right here in Portland, but around Oregon. Driving distance.

    I will certainly hug one for you next time I meet one.

  12. sue - thanks for sharing that qoute about the original nature of the leaf

    it confirms the photo art I have created for our kitchen splashback is spot on for Anamrae

    the guy we're trying to get to convert my art into a glass splashback is having trouble reproducing the colours right, and I was about to thrown in the towel and say just have a plain splashback - but this quote has re-energised to push through to get this done how I envision it

    and when it's installed I shall post a photo on xfacta

    oh I miss maggie's mountain studio

  13. Kel - I'm so glad you're still gonna go with the splashbacks as you originally conceived of them because they sound AWESOME!! Do it! Do it!

    (Sounds like you are having to fight hard to birth this baby - not everything going smoothly. Keep going, push! Push! :)

    We sat outside at Maggie's yesterday, and one of the parrots was flying very close to my head. Cheeky indeed. Hassling Maggie for their seed. The rosellas were hanging around as well. So amazingly beautiful :) I had my brother's dog with me who was crying in the car so I had to have her on the lead. It was just this influx of animal life yesterday, getting in the way of my art therapy :)

    I said to Maggie, "I feel so strongly I will live up here one day." And she said, "That would be so good. We could go walking together." She's such a sweetie :)


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