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Wayne Hinshaw: Autumn leaves create a striking show

Every leaf a flower

Bright leaves on the trees along the creek at Providence Church Road and Goodman Lake Road are reflected in the water, like a mirror.  Photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

Bright leaves on the trees along the creek at Providence Church Road and Goodman Lake Road are reflected in the water, like a mirror.
Photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

The autumn of the year is the time when I have a joyous, melancholy feeling. I am happy to see the season change and feel the coolness of the fall breeze that is refreshing to my soul, yet I am sad to see the summer pass away, leaving me with only the memories of the days that have just passed by me forever.

Over the weekend, I drove around the eastern part of the county and took a walk in the woods at High Rock Lake looking for photos of the autumn colors in nature.

It occurred to me how the trees play games with me in the fall. They look like they are dying, with their green leaves turning to bright colors, then brown. The trees are not dying but only playing “hide and seek” with me. I have faith in nature that in the spring the trees will pop out again wearing their new emerald green coats.

Isn’t it interesting that the trees really reach their peak in beauty only as their leaves die for the winter?

The seasons of the year run in cycles or stages much like our own lives. Each season has a reason and a need for the survival of mankind. We have complained all summer long about the heat, wishing only for the coolness of autumn. Now, feeling that coolness, we complain that we are cold and think surely spring has to come again soon.

Albert Camus said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Walking in the woods, the cool winds seem to rip the colorful leaves from the branches of the trees, leaving them embarrassingly naked to face the cold winter ahead. On some trees there is a defiant leaf or two that fight the winds and just will not fall to the ground, much like a stubborn child who will not go to bed. The child ends up in bed and the defiant leaf ends up falling to the ground.

The leaves, kidnapped by the winds, dance around in the wind and are a pleasure for me to watch in their choreographed exit from the trees. You have to slow down and watch the fluttering leaves, twirling like exotic colored birds fighting for the perfect resting place on the ground where they will spend the winter and decay into the soil.

The bright, intense sunshine of this fall day makes the color show even more striking. The maples, which were green a few weeks ago, have now changed into their gowns of gold and crimson waiting for the plunge to the ground.

This must surely be mother nature’s way of saying, “A job well done, now take a rest for the winter. But, trees be ready to come back to life in the spring and start the cycle all over again.”

As I walk on the carpet of bright colored leaves, I hear the crunching of the dry leaves under my feet being trampled into the damp soil of the woods’ floor.

Is that crunching sound really a whisper from nature saying, “Summer is gone. Summer is gone?”

The turning of the leaves and then falling to the ground makes me a child again in my heart. I remember as a child frolicking in a big pile of leaves at home. Oh, such fun diving into the waist-tall pile of damp, musty foliage and feeling like I was diving into a king’s bed. Maybe, just maybe, I was a king for a moment long ago.

Take some time and watch the leaves flutter in the winds. Take some time and look at the beautiful colors of the reflections of the trees in waters of a pond or lake, or just enjoy a day of fishing on High Rock Lake with all the colors of fall hanging on the trees around the water like Christmas ornaments that will soon be packed away until next year.

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