Bright and intense and beautiful

Taken on my daily walk in our York neighborhood, November 2008

Taken on my daily walk in our York neighborhood, November 2008

“Fall colors are funny. They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.”Siobhan Vivian

That’s what I do on my walks; stockpile the colors and images and cool, smoke-scented air.  No matter how often I see the autumn foliage, it always dazzles me.  No matter how many photos I take, I always want to take more.  I keep all these lovely digital and mental photos and sounds and scents in my mind as a sort of second line of defense against the sad and scary thoughts that keep getting past my psychological fortress.  I can’t use the coming winter as an excuse for stockpiling, though, because I do the same with spring flowers.  I replenish and tap into my stockpiles of cheer, serenity and joy all year long.

Still, I think the fall holidays have grown ever more festive because they ease us into the coming months of cold weather and short, gloomy daylight.  I love the way the winter solstice sneaks in there right before Christmas, when merriment and frantic busyness are at a fever pitch.  By the time the celebrations of the season have passed, we can perk ourselves up with the thought that the darkest day has come and gone, and every day that passes brings a longer time between sunup and sundown.

Meanwhile, though, we still have a few weeks to go before December.  Grab every clear day you can, and make some mental and digital photos of the way the sunlight electrifies the vivid fall palette.  Which colors are your favorite mood-booster?

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    My favorite autumn scenes include plenty of green coniferous trees, for contrast against blazing maples.

    • I agree!

  2. Susan

    Julia, you always have such a great way of articulating what we’re feeling about the seasons and the beauty of nature, but don’t take time to put into words. I’m hoping to get in a weekday (when it’s less crowded) visit to Skyline Drive and this is a good reminder. But even a local drive in our crowded NoVA can be pretty if we just take the time to look around.

    • Yes, I love the idea of going to Skyline Drive, but just heading out along one of our many closer DMV highways is quite a treat. One thing I really miss about Virginia, when I travel to other states, is the way we have zilch, zero, NO billboards. Just trees, and lots of them– which in autumn is even more of a delight than in other seasons!

  3. Susan

    I meant to add, your yard and the area around your house must be so pretty when the leaves change!

    • Yes, the colors are so pretty that I really don’t mind the extra work trees create.

  4. mike c.

    I heard yesterday that this time of year it is actually the hickory and oak trees that cause many alergic reactions, and not as what most people think the pines.. My nose is running like a panther.

    • That’s a great simile – use it in a story or essay sometime. I think oak pollen must be pretty bad. Getting rid of our lovely giant oak (which you can see in Monday’s post) was very hard for me, but it surely cut out a lot of the pollen we had to deal with every year all over our deck.

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