Autumn’s Bounty

No season will ever replace springtime from its firmly entrenched first place in my ranking of favorite seasons, but autumn follows a close second. With summer and its often unbearable estival heat behind, more pleasant temperatures prevail. And while the prospect of shorter, colder, and occasionally even somber days lies in the future, the surrounding sheer splendor fills my storage tanks with color and warmth to last through the coming winter months.

In the latitudes best known to me, which range from about 49 degrees North in Mainz in Germany to nearly 39 degrees North in Colorado Springs in the US, both spring and fall are wonderful times. I prefer to plan my trips around the vernal or autumnal months and did so again during my most recent travel to Germany.

The contrast between the thirsty, paucichromatic American West and well-watered, polychromatic central Europe that struck me immediately upon my arrival, I already commented on. I was also grateful to witness the well-understood yet still unfathomable annual pyrotechnics spectacle of disintegrating, abdicating, taking-its-final-bow chlorophyll. The tactile pleasure of crumbling desiccated leaves in one’s hand or underfoot. The sensual, spiced scent of decaying vegetation. The surprise of beholding the ever more visible silhouette of tree trunks, branches, twigs and more distal ramifications. And last but not least, the alchemical transformation resulting from the fortuitous landing of a grain of pollen on a stigma, its subsequent transport through the style to the ovary, and the ultimate product of plant sex—a mature fruit. A pear or plum so plump and ripe that its sweet juices will coat every taste bud, dribble down one’s chin, and leave one with sticky lips and fingers.

So while I sit here at my desk, wrapped in a warm blanket while scant snowflakes are drifting through the air, I try to tap into those stores of visible, audible, olfactory, gustatory, and tangible memories and carry them with me until Mother Nature will once again reawaken from her hibernal slumber.

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

35 thoughts on “Autumn’s Bounty

  1. Your command of English is amazing. I wonder if Google Translate could translate this post into words the average American college student would understand. We have a friend who teaches at NYU in New York who says she spends the first semester just teaching the new students how to write a basic paragraph.
    I have a very limited understanding of German, so I asked Google to put it in German and it had less problem with that than many Americans would have with even estival or hibernal let alone pauci-chromatic.
    Not complaining – just observing. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have always enjoyed reading and learning new words and languages, and that enjoyment continues into my middle age. I also wonder if (and worry that) the reliance on electronic means of communication in even very little children will interfere with language development, or even interest in language. But I hope that the pendulum will once again swing in the opposite direction, as it’s wont to do.

      Liked by 2 people

    • If there isn’t, there should definitely be an estival festival!
      And thank you for sharing Rilke’s poem. Having just been surrounded by vineyards, I can relate to his request to “jage die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein,” a process I witnessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Paucichromatic” is a new one on me. When I asked Professor Google he came up with just two references, one of which is your own post! (He’s a quick worker, that Professor, I asked him just 7 hours after your post was published 🙂). I’m guessing the word refers to a limited colour palette, and is the opposite of polychromatic? Does it share the same root as the word “paucity?”

    Putting matters of lexicography to one side, your post gave me a warm glow. I think I like autumn even more than spring, both for its wonderful colours and the poignancy that is inherent in it, the nod towards the inevitability of closure, the reminder that, eventually, all things must pass.

    Incidentally, as a Brit, I love it that you used the word “autumn” as well as “fall”. More poetic, I think, and while autumn converts nicely into the adjectival form “autumnal”, “fall-al” just doesn’t sound quite right 🙂.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paucichromatic is a new one one me too but I’m pleased to make its acquaintance! I’m fond of the very useful ‘autumnal’ too – and now I’m wondering what the adjective from ‘fall’ would be, hehe! The images from this post have me all inspired to think of creating a proper veggie garden here. We do have some fruit – apples and grapes so far, with a very young pear tree that hasn’t yet produced any pears.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m pleased to have used a word that piqued people’s curiosity. I love when that happens to me and I have to leaf through my dictionaries.
        As far as “fall” adjectives are concerned, Mr. P suggested “fallal.” “Fally” also comes to mind, or “fallish.” Please feel free to add your own version, Ann. 🙂
        Like you, I have been thinking about planting something edible in our garden. I started by placing two apple seeds in two different pots and am very curious to see if they will germinate. My winter project! 🍎

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’d be most likely to say ‘fall-like’ but I’ll stick with autumnal! Hope your apple seeds do germinate – they could be fun to watch grow. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mr. P,
      I’m impressed you took the time to look up a word I thought I had made up, based on the memory of the medical term “pauciarticular (affecting only a few joints), ” as opposed to polyarticular (affecting many joints). Your derivation is spot-on: “pauci” comes from Latin and means few. I liked the contrast it offered to polychromatic.

      I have always enjoyed the words autumn and autumnal, and think many Americans feel the same way, as I read them quite often in American publications.

      After thinking about your own autumnal reflections, my predilection for springtime is confirmed. I prefer beginnings to endings. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Add me to the group that is enjoying learning some new words from your blog, Tanja. Fun!
    Fall is definitely my favorite season. I think it’s the season many New Englanders live for. Pumpkins forever….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Du sprichst mir aus der Seele, was die Jahreszeiten betrifft. Unsere USA Reisen haben wir auch fast nur im Herbst oder im Frühling unternommen – Ausnahmen gab es, Winter a) in Florida und Winter b) im Yellowstone. Ich mag weder die große Sommerhitze noch die grauen Novembertage. Farbn erfüllen meine Fotos und mein Leben. So ist das.
    Dir einen herzlichen Dank für die bunten Bilder
    Maren

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Maren,
      die beiden Wintererfahrungen in den USA waren sicherlich sehr unterschiedlich. Florida ist ja gut als Winterreiseziel bekannt und beliebt, aber die “snowbirds” die es in den Süden zieht, würden wahrscheinlich in Yellowstone sehr frieren. Aber dieser Nationalpark ist im Winter sicherlich fabelhaft, solange frau warme Unterwäsche dabei hat 😊. Ich kenne sie allerdings nur durch Bilder und Filme.
      Lieben Gruß,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Like you, I rate spring and autumn very nearly equally. It’s the sense of change that appeals to me: new growth in spring, and the movement toward the fallow fields of fall. Everyone and everything needs a rest from time to time, and demanding that the natural world produce and produce and produce is only a sign of a few human preferences! Your photos are beautiful ~ like our Thanksgiving cornucopias, but better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Linda. I agree that change in nature is not only appealing, but it’s a necessity. When people lived in accordance with natural cycles, they still knew this and adapted their lifestyle. But since so many of present-day societies have insulated themselves from the goings-on in the natural world, they have lost any sense of interconnectedness and interdependence, much to their detriment; and to the detriment of nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My favorite season has always been autumn or fall even though I lived in a northern latitude. Every so often we get a spectacular fall down here but usually it just drifts into winter. Very glad that we still have 4 seasons and a little jealous of your snow. Frohe Weihnachten!! ❄❄❄

    Liked by 1 person

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