Autumn Embers

There’s something about Autumn sunrises that’s truly spectacular. Something that makes peeling off the covers and heading to work in the bitter AM worth it.

When it’s early enough that the sky is still that dark slate color, it’s like God strikes a match and lights a tiny candle in the horizon. For a while, there’s nothing else… just the growing glory in the distance, spreading layers of goldenrod and peach brushstrokes, higher and wider, painting the night away with brave color.

Then it bursts.

When that flame hits the trees, it’s fiery and red and bathing everything, like hot, melted butter. Tree bark is tinted russet, like burnished copper, and the streets have the same reddish glow. You can’t look directly across a field pointed east, but you can see the rays, outstretched like arms across corn fronds and newly-mown grass. It’s all one color–syrupy gold, transforming the tops of harvest’s crackling remains into glowing embers. You can almost breathe the brightness, and it makes you wonder if the sun ever really shone at all the rest of the year.

I always get breathless taking pictures of Autumn colors. Something about the trees shaking off their leaves with every breeze gives me the feeling that the scene is changing every second and might not be exactly the same if I don’t hurry. Every year I feel the pull of summer’s last sigh. The rush when the new air first chills my face. The lonesome honk of the geese, their fleeing forms etched dark against the red sky. That enigmatic tug towards the holidays that no one would trade for the world, even though it makes people rush and scatter like the leaves. It’s inescapable, and every year, I willingly go along.

But part of me doesn’t want it to move so quickly. Autumn feels like the fastest season, and seems to mirror all of life–wind-blown and skittish. Leaves dancing just ahead of you, barely out of your grasp, then collecting for quiet moments of inspection and study on the forest floor. Maybe that’s why I feel more at home here than in than any other season.

Something about the unsteady hush, the held breath, the golden summer slipping into cold sleep in a burst of falling color awakens embers deep inside of me. Extra adrenaline dances in my stomach, and I feel a fresh static in my smile, a knowing that’s both stirring and comforting, like destiny. Because for a few months, nature has finally become as brisk and sharp and multicolored as I am.

 

 

 

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