They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and most days I have a camera practically attached to my hand. This fall I’ve worked on a project, daily photos of a hillside covered with sugar maples. It’s on my ride to and from work, and it’s at its greatest glory in the fall. Stretching a quarter mile or so, I call it “The Wall of Flame” when the foliage turns deep orange. Each day through September and into October, I shot a few frames of the trees, looking to track their changes day-by-day. An idea for a post.
This day, I decided to put the camera down and actually see the beauty before me. Just to ride home like a regular Joe, enjoying the fall scenery. The day turned out to be one of those amazing golden days as I drove home into the sunset. Before I knew it, the words and phrases describing the view were spilling onto paper, writing on the tiny memo pad while driving. Some of the scribbling is tough to read, but herein I try to capture the essence of this glorious season, this beautiful world, without pictures.
The Ride Home-
SEEING it. The Wall of Flame and no camera. I feel as if I’ve missed it. Missed the slow turn from green to pale to yellow-ish to orange. Too much time with a camera stuck in front of my face. Thinking the peak has past, thinking it was a slightly duller year for leaf colors. I realize it’s as beautiful as any year, any season, as it is every day. In the clouds I see a bird-shaped formation. A body and two broad wings spread and soaring. A wingspan of a hundred miles, flying five miles high.
A brilliant pink-orange sunset, backlighting the big ridges, all the way to my own Victory Mountain. Truly purple and majestic. Worthy of an anthem. Gray undulatus stretching hundreds of miles across our blue blanket, to the opposite horizon, a deep indigo.
Leaves fall like snowflakes across our path, construction-paper colors and looking like decorations made by the kindergarten. Copper and red, umber and orange are reflected in the farm ponds. Vast cornfields have been shaved, leaving only the stubble standing, like grandfather’s beard, geese notwithstanding.
The globe progresses rapidly as the Big Red Ball drops past nautical twilight, cotton-candy cumulus are bathed in salmon and blue. Clouds in the shadow of the Earth now deepen, lavender wisps and smoky vermilion. The hilltops are now slow burning embers, and tangerine spires of light shoot beyond my field of view. Giant fingers of the gods giving the tiny fragile sphere the gentlest caress.
Trees are now flattened, backlit, and drawn out in india ink as the last Starlings dance and twirl in the umbrageous sky. Now lights must illuminate the road, and watch must be kept for deer.
Before I know, I am standing at my door, watching the last of the deepest colors fade from the sky. As if on cue, a flock of Canada Geese transits the glens of Engleville on a southwest course, silhouetted against the last light of the day. They call to us as they fade into the distance.
I turn, to see the evening star rising.