Writings about

the many life lessons

unearthed when we dig

in the dirt . . . and pursue

a range of other interests

in the constantly evolving

garden of life.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Cue Nat, Cue Sinatra: The Falling Leaves . . .



. . . drift by the window

The autumn leaves of red and gold

I see your lips, the summer kisses

The sun-burned hands I used to hold



Since you went away the days grow long

And soon I'll hear old winter's song

But I miss you most of all my darling

When autumn leaves start to fall

When I hear Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra sing Autumn Leaves, I feel autumn just as strongly as when I look out my window and see the maples and the birches so colorfully marking the change of seasons. This view from my front window shows the leaves just starting to fall.


The two images below show Japanese maples – a fiery red threadleaf and a coral bark with leaves of golden glitter. I photographed both in November 2010. Last year, they were not even close to being this brilliant, and for all I know they may never be again. All the more reason to celebrate every season fully; its riches do not necessarily come again.



Though vibrancy like this comes only in autumn, for some the season signifies loss and emptiness.  Loneliness and longing – in gardening and life. As the season wears on, so do those brilliant hues, eventually fading away. And that's when the sense of emptiness afflicts some gardeners.

Rose-colored and red-hot, summer gardens do not admit even the idea of emptiness; something, if only weeds, will fill every nook and cranny. Blooms explode constantly, leaves tightly hug trees and shrubs, filling our hearts and minds.

But as the days grow shorter, for some they grow longer because the garden spares down, leaving empty spaces in many gardeners' days; it's as if the garden – or a huge part of it – has gone away, leaving haunting memories of loss.

But there is much life and joy to celebrate. Blooms like the harvest mums and the falling leaves help make autumn the flip side of spring, bold and bright and in the sharp-angled light somehow . . . more energizing, crisper, edgier than spring's pudgier presentation.

With scores of autumns behind me, I have learned to appreciate the falling leaves, the spaces. And, always, the song. Once more, Frank. Sing it again, Nat.

17 comments:

  1. Hey Lee,

    Beautiful in every way. Maples, mums, blood grass. It's hard to believe the colors have come so much sooner than anything in my neck of the woods.

    But Oh! Tell me please, what voice in the whole world can sing any song better than Nat 'King' Cole. Never been a voice like it and never will be, Falling Leaves or any other song. Thank you for the memory.

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    1. 'Preciate that, Barbara. With such colors, all I have to do is point and pull the trigger. Thanks for sharing the memory. Hold it in the road.

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  2. What a delightful ear worm to pass along. I can hear them now crooning the leaves right off the trees. You bet we should enjoy every season to it's fullest. You never know what the next will bring. My crazy neighbor cut down EVERY tree from her garden when she bought the house next door. I nearly fainted and they weren't even my trees. She doesn't like leaves getting into her pool or "mess-up" her lawn that is kept sheared to within and inch of it's life. People are so different. ha... I just sit back and enjoy my leaves whether they are on the tree or on the ground.

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    1. Lisa, it *is* hard to stop singing in your head, when it's a song so evocative of such a wonderful season.

      I've seen many a piece of property that was clear-cut. Some do it because they fear falling trees. And, yes, for others it's falling leaves. Fortunately, I have no lawn.

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  3. what a gorgeous orange and the lighting on the other tree...Frank and Nat.. we are also in Autumn....sigh..but then now we are golden...and hopefully our wisdom appreciated....

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. I love that you love the images. And you and I know that getting to the golden stage doesn't come easy. But isn't it great to get there.

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  4. Thank you for introducing me a to a song I had never heard before. It is somewhat sad but beautiful all the same.

    Thankfully I'm not prone to bouts of sadness or depression at any time of year. In autumn I feel more of an urgency to enjoy every minute I can before winter sets in. Yes, the light is infinitely better. On overcast days lately my garden just glows like no other time of year. I've come to the conclusion though, through reading various blogs that I'll most likely enjoy fall much more after I retire :).

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    1. Sue, it's my pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite autumn songs. Be careful; it's addictive. As is retirement.

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  5. I keep going back to look at those maple photos over and over. I really hope this fall gives you the same amazing glory in each one.

    We took a day trip up to the Berkshires yesterday, and found the woods in CT alight with golds and russets, but the trees in the Berkshire hills had not turned. All was green further north, for some reason, but vivd and enchanting and aglow further south along the way. Always a surprise, always a season to put you off kilter --- but I sure do hope you get an exact repeat of the color in your little trees!

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    1. Thanks, Laurrie. Each year *is* different, and beautiful in its own way. That said, those trees in 2010 were never more beautiful. We'll see what 2012 brings.

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  6. Beautifully said... I love the philosophy woven into your blog posts :) Summer is like an intense relationship, all-consuming, while fall, with the empty spaces in between that you mention, is what I prefer. There's room to breathe, time to think, I can pursue other interests without feeling guilty that I'm not tending to, or adoring my blooming beauties.

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary. Every day we get closer to the time when our time loosens up. Your blog shows some beautiful morning glories, while mine are going away. How's the leaf color around Montreal?

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    2. The leaves are just beginning to change and I'll be ready to capture their full beauty in a few weeks :)

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  7. O King of the Maples, what beautiful fall leaves you have! The fabulous, fiery red thread leaf has stolen my heart. All the best! :-)

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    1. Thank you, O Queen of the Lilies. I'm glad you are unable to resist. Enjoy succumbing.

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  8. Hi Lee, these are wonderful images of the beauty that fall delivers. Fall colors usually don't make it down here to Central Florida!

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    1. Thank you, Tammy; that's high praise from someone with your artist's eye for photography. Geographical trade-offs for both of us. You'll be basking in sunshine when I'm shoveling snow. Good to hear from you.

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