This is the season of change. A season of abandon and retreat. A season of brilliance and muted tones. When I look out the window, I can see the leaves falling. They look like they’re dancing- pirouette, fuette, grand jete, piquee- floating through the dusty light unencumbered, in a freefall, buoyed by whisps of warm air. Making that jump into the unknown because they know that they must make room for spring, which will come.
Leaves pile up. There are people who come into the darkness of early morning and take them away. We’re left with mushy piles of indistinct brown in the misty dimness of dawn. The drains, once clogged, now flow freely, but the tiny bugs that created those piles, float about in puddles, abandoned, holding onto their musty secrets. If it wasn’t for those tiny creatures, we’d be buried in leaves, year after year. We’d make our houses out of leaves, carve tunnels through leaves, climb mountains of leaves.
As I bike through Washington Park, my eyes wander to a train track winding through the woods. It is now buried, covered in russet foliage, carving its way through the trees. Light oscillates between muted and brilliant. The sun, low in the sky, sends grains of light through the trees, illuminating the few remaining golden leaves. They shine like nuggets of gold, hanging in the trees. But the quiet seclusion of the wooded paths is dim, getting darker as the sun sets. The colors are subdued, the leaves are still, and we feel and urge to whisper.
When we visit the coast, all is wild. Rain pierces pockmarks in the sand and the pools are teeming with ripples. The crashing surf fills our current memory and we witness a wild love affair between the surf and the falling rain. I can’t tell which water, salty or rain, sends droplets on my cheeks and eyelashes and wets my wool cap. Every rock we step on is a mirror, wet with a sheen from the falling water. The clay looks like rock. We carefully step over a small red salamander, scampering in celebration amidst the sodden leaves and slick mud. Little waterfalls form and cascade down hill faces covered in mist. Each one carves its own little river in the sand.
Oregon’s wetness, its contrast, its unpredictable seasonality, is what makes it so beautiful. We walk through the rain, we step in wet piles of leaves, we dance with the leaves as they make their descent, we imitate the hush of the decomposing forest, we wonder at the wildlife who thrive in this wetness, we put on our raincoats and join them.
You may also like:
–a seasonal retrospective
–Painting Portland: a celebration of fall
–Abcission by Trileigh at Natural Presence
–Farefell Fall Foliage by Oregon Fall Foliage