Remembering: Something in the autumn

Our Yorktown, Virginia neighborhood, November 2008

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood —
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.  — Bliss Carman

Autumn reminds us of the brevity of life as the lush blossoms of summer fade and die away, replaced by the dazzling final act of foliage that will soon be gone.  The coming onset of winter can be depressing, yet somehow fall retains a unique splendor that makes it the favorite season for many of us.  That first snap of chill in the air after the summer heat breaks, followed by the excitement of the harvest holidays and winter merriment, help to take the sting out of the months of cold that will follow.

Update for 11-15-13, one year later:

Wow, I’ve sure gotten a lot chattier since I started this blog! I had forgotten how short I kept my comments. I’m thinking of borrowing the concept I saw on another blog – “Wordless Wednesdays” — and having a day for just a photo, no quote, no comments.  What do you think?  I love Carman’s poem — I say it to myself every fall, having learned it from the old Childcraft set I grew up reading — but really, does a photo such as the one above really need any words?  To see the original post with comments from one year ago today, look here.


  1. no

  2. John M.

    Everything changes, then changes again. For me, Fall and Winter bring great things, cooler air and family and ducks and a little rest and reflection. The weeds in my garden go to the ground, creating the illusion that they perhaps won’t return. I get to prune my peach trees. About this time of year I harbor the silly hope that my family will celebrate Christmas, not render it unrecognizable with all our excesses. Fires and football and trips to the farm and a new year and new chances and… Whoa boy…one day at a time! Change plays well to my intense emotional nature that getting older has quieted but not silenced.

    • I can identify! Especially about the weed and their illusory “disappearance” and emotions that are “quieted but not silenced.” Something about the air in autumn is very energizing. That may explain our tendency to go overboard with the holidays :-).

  3. Michael

    Beautiful shot of Maples? I find I migrate toward the shorter comments on the UMD site and skip the longer ones. If you can’t say it one paragraph and sometimes words are a shield.
    Right now NPR has a segment called Race Card- six words about race =you could have six words of hope, fall, despair, winter?

    • Believe it or not, Mike, those are crape myrtles (I’m pretty sure). Where is the UMD site? Oops, speaking of “can’t say it in one paragraph” — GUILTY! I started writing poetry years ago as a means of trying to rein in the flow of words. I’ll have to tune in to NPR for that segment. I just love the “tell a story in 6 words” prompt, of which Hemingway is famously the champ. His was “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” WOW. The best I could come up with was “Evidence suggested three survived the crash.” If I had to come up with six words for autumn they would be golden, crimson, orange, crisp, chill, alive. I agree that words can be a shield for some people. For me and for writers I like best, I think they can be a window.

  4. Jenelle

    I like the idea of Wordless Wednesday! It might let our imagination write its own quote. Not that your aren’t amazing, because they are perfect all the time 🙂 P.S, every time you put a picture of the east coast in the fall, I sigh deeply. Someday I’ll get to go, I just believe! What a blessing to live in such a beautiful neighborhood!

    • Hey, Jenelle, what a great idea! I’ll have my own “caption contest” except I’ll ask people to send in their chosen quotes or poetry lines to go with the photo! Brilliant. I’ll add that to the schedule I keep meaning to send you…

  5. Perhaps not… On the other hand, just a few words may add quite a bit to your image… 🙂

    • Thanks, I agree – I think I’ll try to hone it down to “just a few words” and then maybe I can get gabby in the comments if I have to :-). Thanks for being here!

  6. I would miss the quotes and the chat. For me it is like a little visit with you every day and I always read someone I might not have done otherwise. Love ya.

    • Thanks Amy, you’ve always been so good at listening to me rattle on, and you are interested in so many kinds of books and authors just as I am. Love you.

  7. Sheila

    I so love this time of year. Do you find it invigorating? My usual Saturday lunch of “Ham and Swiss on rye” welcomes a bowl of Chilli or Brunswick stew. It’s the weather, the food, the friends…more of the same, the anticipation! By the way,I have enjoyed this week of “Remembering”! 🙂

    • Sheila, that sounds wonderful. I cook a lot of chili in the cold weather – fix a big crock pot full (as I did last week) and we have it with brown rice and/or cheese toast. I cook enough for two meals and it seems to get better after it sits in the fridge a day or two. I use my Ninja to liquidate the fresh peppers and tomatoes. Usually I chop the onions to saute with the ground beef. YUM. Normally I get invigorated by this time of year, but right now I’m feeling fairly blindsided by all that is going on this week. I will say that the fun part has been sending out all these gift cards and party favors! You should get yours soon!

      • Sheila

        Julia, thank you so much for the gift card and the bookmark that I love, love, love! It’s the thoughtfulness that makes it really special. Your blog- party was such a fun idea.
        About your chilli, I like the idea of using your Ninja. Is that a food processor? I’m famous for mincing everything! My family compares me to a raccoon because I wash everything so much! 🙂

        • I’m so glad you like the bookmark! I love my Ninja. I got it because it supposedly will make smoothies from solid ice cubes (I ruined an old blender trying to crush ice with it) but I found out it’s great for pulverizing or liquifying foods. You could use it to chop if you only pulse it one or two seconds (really! it’s FAST). I’ve never found a machine yet that will chop as evenly as I chop things, so if I’m looking for uniformly chopped pieces (especially small ones) I just chop myself. But if you want to “sneak” vegetables into chili, it works great! Really you could use it for almost anything that you wanted to be the consistency of mush or liquid. I wash everything a ton too, because I don’t like the idea of eating pesticides or even organic fertilizer! Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think I can taste it when veggies and fruits have not been washed well. They seem to be less bitter after I wash them.

  8. Michael

    Crape Myrtles? I brought some seeds back after our September trip- we will see.
    I meant the upper room site-URD.
    Autumn brings gold and crimson joys.
    Another favorite tree here in autumn are the golden ginkos- amazing. I will see if I have a pict, but we had a big storm last week that ripped most of our leaves away.

    • Not all crape myrtles get this eye-popping crimson color. But these do, and a Kroger’s near us has a parking lot full of them that is positively electric in the autumn sunshine. I keep intending to get to a nursery and find out which ones turn the bright red color. Don’t you hate it when the storms blow away all the blooms or leaves? It’s like the weather is having a temper tantrum, messing up the checker board because it’s losing to another player that’s getting all the attention.

  9. I’m very envious at your long and stunningly beautiful autumns. We are knee deep in new snow and it’s pretty darn cold out. It’s true, the only thing that gets us through are the celebrations that bring people together. I think the Wordless Wednesday is a good idea, you have a wealth of beautiful photo’s to share so why not.

    • Wow Boomdee, you will have to come along on my walk (posted tomorrow) which I took yesterday afternoon here at our Alexandria home, after a long and somewhat discouraging day. It was the most gloriously beautiful day outside, 70 degrees, sunny and almost unbelievable. I took far more pics than I could possibly post, but tomorrow certainly won’t be a “wordless Wednesday.” 🙂 I did post a lot of pics though, I can’t believe how beautiful everything still is in mid-to-late November. (With everything that’s coming up, I’ll probably be going “relatively wordless” soon!) I borrowed the idea of a “virtual walk” from that lovely walk in the snow I found on your blog so long ago, and also from all the wonderful walks through the English countryside that I enjoy with Jules, Jez and Max at Pictures from Everyday Life. I always get such a kick out of how Max loves the water!

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