Welcome Autumn

As our globe gradually tilts farther from the sun, the days in the Northern hemisphere are growing noticeably shorter. The light appears more luminous, sunrise and sunset more vibrant, the nighttime air more crisp.

Leaves and grasses slip out of their summer attire. In what must be one of nature’s most congenial chemical cascades, chlorophyll, having diligently performed photosynthesis all summer long, goes on sabbatical, and the hitherto concealed yellow, orange, and red hues take a brief but boisterous bow on the autumnal stage, to everybody’s enthusiastic applause. Even the plumage of certain birds seems to emulate the flamboyant fall foliage.

Ripe fruit weighs down branches and fills hungry tummies. While many migrants take their leave in search of warmer climes with more abundant food, we resident creatures stay in place, and resign ourselves to nature’s rhythms. Next to spring, autumn is my second favorite season, and similar to spring, it has a tendency to hurry and hasten, when I want it to linger. But for now, instead of lamenting its all-too-soon departure, I welcome its arrival and the many wonders in its wake.

Jetzt, wo sich unser Erdball weiter von der Sonne weg neigt, werden die Tage auf der nördlichen Hemisphäre spürbar kürzer. Das Licht scheint leuchtender, Sonnenauf- und –untergang strahlender und die Nachtluft frischer.

Blätter und Gräser entledigen sich ihrer Sommerkleidung. In einer der sympathischsten chemischen Reaktionen der Natur nimmt sich Chlorophyll nach monatelanger Photosynthese eine Auszeit, und die bisher im Hintergrund versteckten Gelb-, Orange- und Rottöne haben einen kurzen aber ausgelassenen Auftritt auf der Herbstbühne, zu allgemeinem begeisterten Beifall. Selbst das Federkleid einiger Vögel scheint die farbenprächtigen Herbstfarben nachzuahmen.

Reife Früchte hängen an Zweigen und füllen hungrige Mägen. Während sich viele Durchzügler verabschieden, und sich in wärmere Gegenden mit reichhaltigerer Nahrung aufmachen, bleiben wir standortgebundenen Kreaturen an Ort und Stelle und finden uns mit den Zyklen von Mutter Natur ab. Nach dem Frühling ist der Herbst meine zweitliebste Jahreszeit, und ähnlich wie der Frühling hat er die Tendenz, davonzueilen, wenn ich mir auch wünsche, daß er verweilen möge. Aber anstatt seine baldigen Abreise zu bedauern, heiße ich ihn und die vielen Wunder in seinem Schlepptau herzlich willkommen.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover cursor over it.

Zum Vergrößern, das Bild bitte anklicken. Um den Titel zu lesen, mit der Maus darüber schweben.

79 thoughts on “Welcome Autumn

    • Vielen Dank, lieber Jürgen. Ja, die Zeit vergeht wie immer sehr schnell. Auch wenn der Abschied manchmal etwas schwer fällt, ist es doch gut, daß die Natur diesen ewigen Kreislauf durchläuft. Wenn immer nur die Sonne schiene, wäre das auf Dauer etwas eintönig.
      Ich wünsche Dir weiterhin einen schönen Herbst.
      Herzliche Grüße aus Colorado,
      Tanja

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    • Thank you, Platypus Man. A beautiful if not entirely accurate metaphor, as our own twilight years, sadly, will not renew themselves (unless reincarnation does not represent merely wishful thinking). Another reason to make those twilight years shine and shimmer (e.g. with a trip to N.Z. 😊).

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  1. Happy autumn to you, Tanja. You’ll be surprised to hear that the earth is actually closer to the sun at the end of December than at the end of June. Here’s an article explaining the situation: https://earthsky.org/?p=24846.

    I like your alliterative phrase “chemical cascade.” The caption to one of your pictures taught me that German gives overt rather than implied equal time to bright and dark by rendering equinox as day-and-night-alike.

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    • Den schönen Herbst hast Du ja auch gerade bei Deinem Ausflug in den Zoo Sauvage erleben können, liebe Christa. Der Winter hat seine wunderschönen Seiten, und er ermöglicht uns, endlich die Projekte anzugehen, für die wir im restlichen Jahr keine Zeit hatten! 😊

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  2. What a beautiful description of Fall! And lovely images to go with that description. And you are so right about the fleeting nature of Spring and Fall. “Stay longer!” I always beg, but with a laugh they hurry on.

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  3. Most of us — with good reason — focus on the colors of autumn, but the textures in your first photo are just as delightful. Before the grasses fade and the trees are stripped of their leaves, they complement one another beautiful, and seem even in photos to want to be touched.

    Pike’s Peak always makes me smile: not only because of childhood memories of a visit, but also because of Pike himself. When I spent time in Kansas a few years ago, I came across several of the places where he and his party camped during their expedition to the Southwest — it was great fun to learn about Pike-the-person, and associate the name with more than a mountain.

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    • Thank you, Linda. It was indeed the textures (apart from the light) that captivated me in that first photograph.

      I am glad you harbor pleasant memories about your visit in the Pikes Peak region (BTW, at some point many moons ago, they dropped the ” ‘s” from Pike’s).

      Pike has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, and efforts are underway to commemorate his 1806/07 expedition with a series of monuments and markers, by establishing the Pike National Historic Trail, along his 3,664 mile journey. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to retrace his steps?

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  4. Beautiful images & very well said. We don’t see those colors in Florida. We did pick up the Red Crossbill in Wyoming when we were there. Life bird for both of us. Searched for the Evening Grosbeak but never got it.

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    • I appreciate your comment, Lisa. It took me years to see a Red Crossbill, but a wet spring this year yielded in a great cone harvest, and they have been everywhere, much to my delight. And three Evening Grosbeaks showed up at our feeder a month or so ago, so that was a special treat, as I don’t see them as often as I would like.

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  5. Wonderful writing! I especially love the way your describe the changing colour of the leaves! So many great photos too! The sunrise is magnificent! 😊

    You got me thinking about why spring and autumn seem to be the seasons that move forward the most. So many big visual changes in those seasons. One week looks so different from the previous week. In summer and winter, things change too, but it is less apparent. And the more extreme the summer or winter temperatures are in a place, the less happens.

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    • Thank you so much, Myriam.
      I think your observation is about the seasons is spot-on. Many people love the summer and winter months, but the other two will forever remain my favorites, with vernal reawakening the most welcome after cold and dark months!

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