Wind, Rain, Leaves


Our northeaster is beginning to pass on, with more cold in its wake.  Any time now we can anticipate Indian Summer, then the final chill down.  These dogwood leaves hardly notice the rain, they just lose their chlorophyll and reveal their true colors.

A cynic would say that is just like an American election these days _ as soon as the storm passes on and the results are in, the coldness returns.  Politicians lose whatever camouflage they were displaying to get votes and return to their true color before drying up and uselessly dropping to the low ground.  But, naturally, I follow nature and am not permitted to be a cynic.

What look like elf weapons hanging from the sweet gum tree in front of Coindre Hall.  These handsome leaves are moving right along with everything else.  Today the wind has a bite _ I’m wearing a wool cap for the first time _ and there remains an off and on drizzle from the storm out over the Atlantic.

I’m about halfway to getting out the regular fall gear and putting away the things of summer.  The yard, too, is hung between seasons:  the hoses are still out, the leaves don’t need raking but the grass needs a final clip, all the stakes should be pulled out, but the bulbs are in.  Then comes the real changeover, which somehow always coincides with Halloween and the end of daylight savings time.


Reeds near high tide, with subtly colored trees in puppy cove behind.  Like any other of the many pictures I take, really, yet each photograph is never quite the same.
Each moment is infinitely different from all others, yet each is basically identical.  Each day I am identical to who I was yesterday, yet entirely different.  That is true at a quantum level for everything in the universe, even a rock.  Such contradiction is part of the fabric of which our consciousness is woven.  Miraculously, as humans, we can be aware of each truth simultaneously.

Some of the fascination with fall foliage is how its effects can vary from subtle to dramatic.  Flaming orange maples or brilliant scarlet hillsides are the standard calendar book views, but autumn also announces in thinning brightly tinged leaves that almost seem an illusion.  We adjust so easily that after a moment any strangeness is accepted as common, and we go back to looking for something new and different.

Perhaps that is part of our evolutionary heritage, in which we always had to be on the lookout for dangers or food opportunities.  One of the glories of being human is that we include such mechanisms, which is why an artificial intelligence should it ever be possible would not be nearly human _ none of these instinctual and subtle facets of consciousness would be present. 


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