Posted by: Memorizing Nature | October 16, 2011

Impassioned Interval

This is the weirdest season, when the landscape goes experimental. Golds and corals are unmasked when the green drips off. Scarlets and maroons emanate antioxidants. Tannin creates the copper. After their stems become strangled, leaves drop in the wind to replenish the soil. It’s an annual revision, triggered by shorter nights. The extremities are sacrificed for the sake of survival, so that the tree may unfurl again.

Photo by E. Medline

Autumn smells like a woodstove and feels like paper, accompanied by the rattle of a hospice confession. It is the undoing that allows the ceaseless cycle of doing. A transformation measured in days, when photographers and artists take notice but cannot really replicate the plummeting of matter. Pigments advance and retreat. Trees are febrile, impassioned. The scene reminds us that change is consistent.

Photo by E. Medline

The leaves, they drift from sky to rock, and the tree seems oblivious to its own deterioration.  If only humans aged so elegantly, with such dazzling decay. What if, with each advancing year, we added only glimmer? What if our wrinkles blushed, and our shriveled skin burst like a flare?

Photo by E. Medline

I jump into the pile of leaves, as a child, as an adult, as an old woman celebrating the end that repeats itself, season after season. Chlorophyll drains from my face, leaving me shining in apricot light. I need to hold on to this season for as long as possible, grasping at the beauty that is beautiful only because of its transiency. I wait for the maples and oaks and sumac to go bare. A blizzard blows, and the branches strike me, drawing blood. Everything gravitates downward. Soon the snow will arrive, unloading even more lamentable grace.



  1. Beautiful Elaine! Your writing is stunning as always – so evocative and full of autumn’s rich beauty.

    • Thanks, Diane. It’s crazy we’re in the same field and have never met in person!

  2. Elaine, I always marvel at your colourful descriptions, and yes if only humans could age so elegantly, a lovely ideal to strive for!

    • Thank you Kathryn. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by such unique scenery. And you nailed my thesis!

  3. Lovely and gorgeous pictures too!

    • Gillian, but what do the kids think? I bet they prefer the ducklings post?

  4. Excellent.
    ” It is the undoing that allows the ceaseless cycle of doing ” were you in the forest with a zen monk, or did you become one during those moments?

    • BigD, another person suggested I was on dope when I wrote this – I like your theory better!

  5. The most colourful and beautiful of the seasons captured in the most beautiful writing! Lovely

    • Doug, my husband, you are only supposed to comment when no one else is commenting so I don’t look bad lol!

  6. Nice piece of writing Elaine! I’m not so sure I’d like to go out in a burst of colors if it was only after one season. Really, the annual resting period for plants equates much better to a human getting a good’s night rest. Perennial plants aren’t dying they are just recharging their batteries. Now that I think of it I would like to burst into colors each night as I go to bed. Kind of sexy, don’t you think?

    • Bill, you always straighten out my scientific assumptions and I appreciate that (in fact, it’s getting to the point where I hesitate before writing certain sentences, wondering what your professorial feedback might be). Sexy? Not sure about that!

      • Given your wonderful writing please never take anything I say as criticism, rather opinion gently sent your way. I love what you have to say so don’t ever hesitate in your writing. It’s the images that bring me back. I learn so much from the way you look at everything!

  7. a friend of mine tells me she loves the smell of autumn ~

  8. Fantastic macro!! MaRvELOuS!!!!!

  9. What if we were like the leaves? Does the tree get sad when it loses its leaves? Beautiful captures.

  10. Very cool – love the colors!

  11. Great Macro Shots!

  12. Beautiful shots of Mother Nature’s glory!

  13. Such beautiful words! I am open-mouthed in awe, great post!

  14. I enjoyed your story…reminded me of the time when I was going outside as a kid jumping and rolling into a big heaping mound of beautiful colored leaves. Leaves inside my coat, hanging off my hat, stuck on my shoe laces…it was hilarious!

  15. Stunning colors of Autumn. Love that Red shot. Interesting writing, very enjoyable.

  16. Gorgeous details and autumn colors in these macros.

  17. Hi
    I came here from LinkedIn after you provided your url in the bloggers group. I’ve now blog-rolled your blog. I am sure my readers would equally appreciate your blog.

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