Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: A Photographic Ode to Autumn

This evening, I went for a wonderful walk in the woods, near my home in northern Michigan. Despite the lack of sunshine and the threat of rain, I ventured onto one of my favorite trails. It’s a shady path, lined with tall pine trees, that divides at a crossroads into three distinct routes, which meet again at the top of the middle one, creating a lopsided loop, cleaved in two. I’d left my weights at home and taken my camera instead. Borrowing an idea from my friend Becky, I wanted to capture the fall colors before they faded into memory.

As I hiked the middle route of my favorite trail system and looped back to the crossroads, I couldn’t help but notice mankind’s influence: deep truck ruts, chopped logs, “No Hunting” signs here and there. But, even with such reminders of civilization as well as the cool raindrops that fell on my silly hatless head, I savored the kaleidoscopic forest that enveloped me. Leaves of nearly every hue – crimson, orange, yellow-green, brown, and purple – were everywhere. Even my beloved blueberry patch, always eerily lit by sunshine even on an overcast day, was surrounded by trees that resembled the fluorescent Play-Doh from my childhood.

During this damp but rewarding walk, I realized that Becky was right: Northern Michigan is “the most incredibly beautiful place.” Of course, I also thought about my lifelong fascination with autumn, which has in fact been my favorite season for as long as I can remember – and truly a delight for the senses. The sight of vibrant colors, the smell of burning leaves, the taste of hot apple cider, the feel of a cool crisp breeze, and the sound of revelry in the French Quarter.

Because, yes, I attribute my love for the fall, in part, to the holidays in October and November – namely, Halloween and the Day of the Dead, holidays that celebrate those who have passed between life and death. What an appropriate time for such a celebration – after all, isn’t that what all those vibrant leaves represent? A time of transition, between the vitality of summer and the dormancy of winter? As I returned home and gazed at the nearby cove, I thought that death had never seemed more beautiful...

18 comments:

Strange Fiction said...

Beautiful pictures Laura. A nice goodbye to your stay in Michigan--must be getting close to your moving day. Are you excited?

Congrats on the contest! :)

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Deb. Yep, after I turn my proposal in on Monday (yikes!), I'll have a week to pack up, clean the house, and say farewell to my beloved Michigan for seven months. Boo-hiss.

Oh, and thanks for the congrats... although I feel weird winning over an online buddy. :-(

Bane of Anubis said...

Villa Martone! Love it. I'm not normally one to gush about foliage or seasons, but when the wif and I got hitched in NZ (April), the Queenstown Gardens were absolutely perfect. Eventually'll have to post a pic or two.

Laura Martone said...

Teehee. I wondered if anyone would notice my sign. Leave it to you, Bane!

Dan and I made that sign for his folks a couple years ago. They thought it was funny, so we drag it out every summer.

Oh, I imagine New Zealand is lovely any time of year! How lucky that you got to get married there. I settled for Vegas. ;-)

Susan R. Mills said...

The photos are great. Fall colors are my favorite. My whole house is decorated in them. I also seem to get the most writing done in the fall. Maybe it's because the environment inspires me.

Laura Martone said...

Hey, Susan. Yeah, I think most people like fall colors... how can you not? I get a lot of writing done in the fall, too - it's a very inspiring season, I think. The cold helps, too - keeps us indoors, where our computers usually reside. :-)

P.S. I just realized you changed your name! No more "Lazy Writer" - sniff, sniff. I kinda miss it, but I understand your reason for changing it, and I support it fully.

MattDel said...

I went down to Florida for my honeymoon about a month ago (as those who follow FtP know already), and where the leaves were changing here in good ol' New England, everything was still green and lush and totally depressing in Orlando.

Having a November birthday also helps with my love of fall, but I am totally there for the autumn/winter months. Summer's definitely not my favorite.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Fall's my fav too. Great colorful shots you captured.

Natalie said...

Those are beautiful pictures! Fall is my favorite season too.

Becky said...

Yea! You're so nice! And OMG is it beautiful up here right now! I wish everyone could come up here to see the fall colors, but then again, it's nice to have a bit more peace after the busy summer season. Gorgeous pictures! Keep taking them! It's amazing how fast they change.

Your sign, and all of the others up here just crack me up! I'm still amused by all of the "cabin signs" up here along the roads at each driveway. Oh... that'd make a GREAT blog entry! I still have to figure out how to do those links that you have in there. Thanks for the "plug" BTW.

Off to enjoy my last day with hubby before he makes his 2nd cross country drive. Poor guy. But I really wish it were me making the drive. I'm so eager to get out there now, but glad to have an extra few weeks of this beautiful place!

Laura Martone said...

Matt - Wow! Congrats! I didn't know you'd just gotten married... hope you had fun in Florida, despite the depressing lushness (teehee). I've never seen the leaves change in New England (except in the movies) - bet it's gorgeous! P.S. I have a November birthday, too! When's yours?

Thanks, Angie and Natalie! I think a lot of folks like fall best. Like Matt, I'm not a huge fan of summer. I like the greenery, but not the heat (which is actually why Michigan summers are so nice).

Laura Martone said...

Hiya, Becky. You're right - it IS beautiful up here. If only the sun would make an appearance.

I love all the signs, too - they're adorable. Have you ever seen the Victorian homes in Bay View? They all have cute signs out front. That WOULD make a great blog entry - you should do it! I can help you with the links BTW.

Enjoy your time with the hubby! And don't wish the days away - you'll be in Oregon soon enough.

MattDel said...

Laura --

November 14 is my birthday; and my dad, aunt, and brother also have November b-days (Dad's is the 20th, aunt's is the 22nd, and big brother's is 25th). Where do you fall in the month?

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Matt. I was born on the last day of the month, November 30th, which means my birthday usually falls around Thanksgiving - and that people used to get away with combined birthday and Christmas presents, but it's okay. Sniff, sniff. I love having a fall birthday - and your pun was much appreciated. ;-)

P.S. That's weird - I have a lot of November birthdays in my family, too. Nov. 1 is one grandma's, Nov. 7 is the other's.

Diane said...

Great pictures! We've had rain here for the past two weeks almost every day. Very depressing. Glad you had that nice day to enjoy. :O)

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Diane! Even with the rain, the colors have been beautiful. While I like rain a lot, I do find it depressing when the sun doesn't come out for days. Here in Michigan, it's already snowed. Can you believe it?

A misinterpreted wave said...

I am jealous of those pictures. One day I will see landscape like this for myself :)

Laura Martone said...

Australia doesn't have a "fall"? If not, you should definitely come over here, Chris... Michigan, Vermont, New York, all have beautiful, multi-colored forests around this time of year. Truly incredible!