Like a mirror image twin of March, October comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion.  Whitecaps on the harbor are caused by a fierce north wind following a blast of cold rain.  Throughout the rest of this month, the lion cub _ cute at first _ will grow stronger and bigger and eventually be a constant presence in our subconscious and a frequent nighttime terror.  Already the villagers huddle in their warm huts and set out lights against the increasing darkness.

While the rest of the world warms, the northeast seems to be chilling down.  If the patterns of the last year hold we will have brutal cold and frequent heavy snow bordering on blizzard conditions.  The future is always filled with such ifs, and while it is interesting to contemplate them abstractly in daydreams I fight the enervating tendency to let them control my mood right now.

The weekend storm ripped many of the most colorful leaves to the ground, the rest are rapidly fading into various shades of browned russet and gold.  But there are still patches of brilliance, abstract masterpieces no matter where we look if we just take the time.  Of course, no photograph can do justice to what we can actually see.

Nature always puts the lie to any systemic theory of aesthetics.  In nature, all colors and shapes fit perfectly well, regardless of our logical preconceptions, which usually involve willfully ignoring parts of what is before us.  Once upon a time, all this surely warned us of danger or opportunity, but somehow we have been gifted with the amazing ability to appreciate it all.  If we but try.

Exactly the scene everywhere, from the top of the Coindre hill.  Leaves beginning to cover the still verdant lawn, one tree stripped, colors becoming muted, the far hills transitioning away from basic green.  This was another particularly warm day, with pedestrians happily stripping off layers of clothing in surprise.

Nature doesn’t care how we vote, whether we dissolve into anarchy or become feudal clans.  What might be lost will only affect human individuals, as parks like this are removed from common heritage and enjoyment and taken by the most aggressively heartless selfish wealthy for their personal use and enjoyment, leaving the rest of us to wonder at what once was.

Another boring shot of the same old boring places.  But to me they are constantly changing and mysterious.  Nothing is simple in the universe.  Should I ever get tired of the banquet obviously spread before and around me, I can consider what is unseen _ under the water, in the air, beneath the trees, over our heads.  Or what once was here and what may happen in the future.  Imagination knows no boredom.

I think we have lost that in our edged search for novelty everywhere all the time.  We have lost the ability to glory in the subtlety of change and difference.  We have become the grossest of consumers, with absolutely no discriminatory tastes, no connoisseur ability.  We experience as we eat _ until we are overfilled and on our way to obesity of the soul.

Although the general surrounding splendor is rapidly dimming into browns, this is probably the week of greatest contrast with what remains _ a brilliant red here, a glowing yellow there, greens still untouched.  And, after all, it is contrast _ like movement _ that our instincts most detect and call to our attention.  A sea of scarlet-orange maples on a hill is all very well, but we lose interest quickly.  Just as spicy food is brought out by a bland companion course, the colors of autumn are more spectacular by comparison with lesser surroundings.

True, I have to search a little to find what I want, but the rewards are greater.  I suppose a philosopher would extend that to some kind of tedious metaphor.  I’m too old for metaphors _ I think everything just is as it is and we better learn how to accept reality.


Pure November, across the wind-churned water to the deepening brown trees under a dark foreboding cloud-filled sky.  Breaks of sunlight highlight a white mansion standing almost defiant against the coming elements.  Of course, that is the normal romantic take on all this stuff.  Otherwise, ho hum, another day, whatever.

There’s always a question of how much I allow my imagination to run wild.  I can despair at all the awful news in the media, until I am ready to gratefully welcome whatever apocalypse is being served up today.  I can equally become enamored of the wonderful discoveries and scientific marvels of a new age until I believe everything will turn out better than ever.  And my own future _ my own future actually varies just as much mood by mood.  But from this scene, right now _ why not be a Romantic for a moment?

November fully colored by nature, active waves, constant clouds and wind.  You may not feel the temperature nor experience the shortened days nor hear the lack of birdcall, but somehow for anyone who has been there a picture like this recalls it all.  That is, really, the primary purpose of photographs and most other forms of capture _ not so much to show us new marvels as to refresh our memories.

What I find disturbing is that lately what I read is that everyone is ditching reality for imaginative capture _ avoiding the sunlight to watch a well-crafted show on some media.  That may be true, and if so is quite sad.  Yet simultaneously, I note that the people I actually know are doing no such thing _ the parks and outside fairs are crowded, the parks are well used, many take walks as I do, my children grab the same time doing things as I used to.  I think, not for the first time, that what the media gives me is a completely distorted view of current cultural life.





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