Photos courtesy of Brent Danley and bluepoint, extracted from here
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus
Summer knows no limit in its punishing heat and sultry suppression resulting in angry outbursts of storm. In contrast, autumn is so soothing in its gentle treatment of earthly creatures. The autumn sky is brilliantly blue, loftily high, and perfectly still. The autumn rain is soft, moisturizing without beating down hard. The autumn air has a sweet and fragrant scent seeming to come from every direction.
The autumn woods offers up a feast on the senses. The trees show off their most vibrant colors everywhere one looks. While walking in the woods, one is treated to the delightful sensation of rustling leaves underfoot and the happy calls of birds overhead. Autumn is truly a treat to a naturalist.
Summer is exciting, prompting us to feel that anything is possible as the sun lavishes earth with excessive energy. We look for adventures, fun occasions, and any activity to expose and exploit our youthful properties in the long days and nights of summer. Autumn could not be more different. It is the time the body seeks more insulation and the mind coming to terms with the imminent barren realities of winter. While summer favors youth and excitement, autumn embodies comfort and contentment.
What is more, the autumn harvests bring about thankfulness and relief when people come together to celebrate the Earth, familial bonds and the fruits of their hard labor.
When comparing spring to autumn, the words of Soren Kierkegaard, father of existentialism, comes to mind: “Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven, in the spring the earth.”
Like autumn, spring appeals to the senses as nature wakes up and blossoms. Spring brings renewed hopes of abundance. Like in summer, there is a sense that anything is possible in spring as the reenergized earth is ready to produce. The gifts of renewal and fertility in spring are indeed exhilarating and widely celebrated. However, spring is also when the hard toiling begins. Autumn offers more peace and spiritual opportunities if one chooses to slow down and contemplate the meaning of life beyond economic activities and transient social relationships.
Autumn holds a unique promise of not only beauty but also peace that do not come by easily at other points in the seasonal cycle. It is when I look inward and forward. It is when I don’t feel ridiculous to start listening to Christmas music and anticipating the joy of the holiday season.
Autumn is when I can indulge in many earthly pleasures: admiring the beautiful trees and benign sunshine, walking on rustling beds of fallen leaves, standing still to smell the sweet autumn air, gazing up into the deep blue sky, sipping hot drinks, feeling my body slow down, snuggling in warm clothing and bedding, contemplating ideas such as life and the heavens.
Autumn is richly complex and sensually satisfying. Maria Popova of brainpickings has put it aptly and artfully as follows:
Of the four seasons, autumn is by far the most paradoxical. Wedged between an equinox and a solstice, it moors us to cosmic rhythms of deep time and at the same time envelops us in the palpable immediacy of its warm afternoon breeze, its evening chill, its unmistakable scentscape. It is a season considered temperate, but one often tempestuous in its sudden storms and ecstatic echoes of summer heat. We call it “fall” with the wistfulness of loss as we watch leaves and ripe fruit drop to the ground, but it is also the season of abundance, of labor coming to fruition in harvest.