There’s a Sadness to Autumn

Despite glorious, intense colour, autumn seems a little sad, like the final few days of a holiday, or Sunday evenings – any evening in fact.  In Canada, I (usually) marvelled at the almost Australian-blue of the autumn sky, and was beguiled by Lac Bertrand with its royal cloak of Fall, but behind each stunning tableau was the irrepressible image of the cold and dark to come.

It is only since I have become a stranger to Autumn that I have really come to appreciate it, as my parents did, on Papa’s only trip to see me in the ten years I lived in Canada.  Imagine the responsibility, decades before the internet, of getting the timing right!  I calculated the third week in September would be perfect to take in the full splendour of autumn in the rocky ravines of the Agawa Canyon north of Sudbury, Ontario – one of the quintessential landscapes of Canada’s “Group of Seven” artists.  I wish I had kept the prints of their trip to show you …  But I didn’t, so here’re a couple of my own, including my favourite image of Autumn, somewhere in New England – apologies, they’re mostly scans.

Go to Jake’s blog to see his beautiful Autumn pictures, and those of other bloggers who’ve risen to his challenge this week.

65 thoughts on “There’s a Sadness to Autumn

  1. There is a definite melancholy in autumn – the waning sunlight and warmth – but it’s always been my favorite season. Lovely photos. The colors show up just fine in scans. 🙂

  2. I love the melancholy of Autumn, coming from Melbourne, living in the UK – I have been lucky enough to really experience it. I’d love to return to the IK, but at least the plane trees in Hyde Park give me some sense of it which, otherwise, Perth would lack.
    Your pics are beautiful!

    • I’d forgotten how Melbourne and Adelaide dress up for Autumn – you’re right! I don’t like melancholy anything – for more than a few brief moments, but I agree (now I don’t have to live through a late Canadian autumn then winter) is is a gorgeous season, for those few brief moments when it’s ablaze 🙂

  3. they might be scans but they’re all great!! love the ginkgo bonsai too. we have alot of ginkgo trees ’round these parts. and….every year I have to convince the husband that THIS is the best time of year!! It’s my favorite season, alas….it isn’t his. and every year brings that sadness of which you speak. Sadness for him as it brings on “the season of death”. Sadness for me as I attempt to enjoy my favorite season with my grumpy hubby 😦 I have said in recent days that I will miss autumn when we (finally) move to Spain. But as well? I think I might be over it by then 😉 Thanks for the great autumn colors!!

  4. I feel the sadness associated with Autumn too, it starts to dawn on me as soon as I see the first leaves changing colour to their golden-brown. It starts on one tree one day, then one the next, and then the next and so on… lovely photos!

  5. It is funny that I don’t really think about other places not really having the same seasonal changes as we do here in Canada. I will have to concentrate on trying to capture some of the colours for you this year.

    • That would be wonderful, Michelle. I’d really enjoy that.

      I have to admit I do miss it – a little – now I don’t have it at all any more! I must remember to plant a Japanese maple, or something, when i go back home, because where i’m settling there’s nothing but the occasional garden tree to give you that feeling … 🙂

  6. I’m heading north from NY to Ontario in two days to see friends. I miss Canada most intensely in autumn, even though it’s gorgeous here as well. The light in autumn is low, golden, poignant in a way it isn’t in any other season.

    I love Group of Seven!

  7. I love the colors of autumn. It shows that summertime is going out in a blaze of glory. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and insight.


    • Glad you liked them. I think the nostalgia is (as kate Shrewday pointed out) for the loss of freedom that the warmth and long hours of sunlight give us in summer. Were you hiking in the woods? Were the leaves beginning to turn?

      • I concur!

        I was. I live in Tennessee, so there hasn’t been a notable change as far as colors go. While there are some vivid colors, most of of the leaves have simply turned brown and crumbled to the ground. It does make for a soothing sound while walking, though.

    • It was one of those achingly beautiful scenes, with the sun shining a spotlight out of leaden skies right on that golden tree – how I wish I still had the SLR when I took it, but that ended up on the bay when R was trying to capture a turtle swimming around a boat we were visiting … 🙂

    • Thanks Madhu. I think it was the idea of change that precipitated it – and not being able to see against the glaring white. I wish I could find this with a magazine style home page, then I’d be satisfied. But I do like the way the pictures look, and the nice big, sanserif typeface!

  8. I love the autumn – I find it invigorating, tempting me to new challenges. I’m hoping to get out for a fall drive this year to take in the colours. Not all of Canada enjoys this glorious display of oranges and reds … north of Sudbury it’s mostly yellows and golds …

  9. You’ve inspired me to scan some of my old photos. I was in Tuscany in 2001 and have only photo prints of that trip (did they have digital then? Probably). I shall scan them. I love your #3 Venice.
    Autumn is my favorite season, a relief from the intense heat and glare of the sun; I’ve never lived in a place that was otherwise.

    • I have to admit I miss (some aspects) of autumn now and really enjoyed feeling chilly (even cold, freezing, up on Santis before a storm) when I was in Switzerland and Venice last November!

      So glad I’ve inspired you to scan your prints. What a treat we’re in for! It was only 11 years ago, and though I was certainly still using film, I couldn’t remember when we first went digital, either, so popped over to Wiki –

      In 1991, Kodak brought to market the Kodak DCS-100, the beginning of a long line of professional Kodak DCS SLR cameras that were based in part on film bodies, often Nikons. It used a 1.3 megapixel sensor and was priced at $13,000.

      The move to digital formats was helped by the formation of the first JPEG and MPEG standards in 1988, which allowed image and video files to be compressed for storage. The first consumer camera with an LCD was … developed … in 1995 … The first camera to use CompactFlash was the Kodak DC-25 in 1996.

      The marketplace for consumer digital cameras was originally low resolution (either analog or digital) cameras built for utility. In 1997 the first megapixel cameras for consumers were marketed.

      1999 saw the introduction of the Nikon D1, a 2.74 megapixel camera that was the first digital SLR developed entirely by a major manufacturer, and at a cost of under $6,000 at introduction was affordable by professional photographers and high-end consumers. This camera also used Nikon F-mount lenses, which meant film photographers could use many of the same lenses they already owned.

      What’s really fascinating is that it was a Kodak engineer who first developed the concept of a digital camera (mid to late 70s, I think), and now Kodak’s struggling to stay alive. How vital it is to have the vision to see where new innovations can take us, like Steve Jobs did with the personal computer. Ideas that change the world, eh?

    • I’ll be interested to know. My observations were that rain was the enemy of colour, but if the leaves have browned off early from the drought, then of course it’ll be a fizzier this year. Hope the rains come before it’s too late – but i guess it already is cause you don’t have winter crops, do you?

      • Usually the leaves here turn due to sunlight, rain and cooling temps. At least that is what I’ve read. Without the rain, the poor leaves are already shriveled and dying. But they did change a little even in one day. I went on a run today and it had rained and dropped temperature significantly. The leaves had deepened a bit. Last night I even saw the most amazing sunset. The sun was red and a brilliant red beam of light reflected in a straight beam towards me on the water. Oh how I wished I had my camera!

  10. You are so right, Wanderlust: Autumn makes me sad. I hate to lose the freedom accorded by the light and the warmth. But it can be stunningly beautiful here. I love your round up of pictures.

    • I agree Kate – for those few short weeks when the colour’s up, it can be brilliant (and invigorating, especially in places like southern Europe or the southern American states) and extraordinarily beautiful.

    • I just love that shot – I went with my girlfriend to visit cousins of hers in the country, and despite all those years in Canada, this tree garden at the end of their driveway just spoke to me of autumn. 🙂

  11. I agree about autumn and sadness… and I love how you compare it to Sunday evenings! I love summer, and saying goodbye to it is always difficult… even though I know autumn will mean I can wear gorgeous sweaters and my beautiful boots.

    • Glad you understand, Anne. Before I lived in Canada Autumn only meant a chance to change my wardrobe – and marvel at the occasional blazing tree. I know for many, even in high northerly latitudes, autumn remains their favourite time of year and I can get it – it’s beautiful, the light is beautiful, the blazing colours are stupendous, long walks and blazing fires … the first year or so i might have agreed, except for the grim grey Novembers, everything dead except for the occasional fir tree looming through the gloom … Oh, the freedom of summer 🙂

  12. I can see what you’re saying, but Mere . . . for me, autumn brings much of what I wait all year for; cooler weather for one, in which I can break out my scarves and boots and knitted hats. It means specially flavored coffee from my local market and pumpkin bread. It means open windows and wafting breezes and leaves ablaze. I am looking forward to it.

    Love these photos. The one of the 5 Sugar Maples is my favorite.

    Happy Monday to you!
    ~ Cara

    • Cara, Cara, your autumn is a different beast to those of northern climes! Where you are it’s bringing in a change of clothes and food, in Canada and to a large extent the northern border states, it’s the beginning of the downward spiral into the other half of the year, the dark half. Of work days that begin and end in the dark (oh dear, how I hated getting up and going to work in the dark!), of cold so unremitting it hurts to breath fresh air, of stifling stale conditioned air and sheets that smell burnt …

      In mollification, for a few, resplendent weeks, autumn is a blaze of colour so intensely beautiful it takes your breath away 🙂

  13. Autumn is my favourite season, when the summer heat fades and the delicious crispness of winter starts to make it’s mark. If only it was always March 🙂 You images are wondeful and similar to the cooler areas of Australia in the Autumn… one of the few times I like Canberra…

    • I haven’t been to Canberra for 40 odd years :), but I can imagine how splendid it must look in Autumn now that the gardens, and the street plantings are all fully grown. Yeah, if it could always be March, with those brilliant blue skies, and the sparkle in the air … 🙂

  14. I don’t seem to be able to sign in with my usual ‘pix & kardz’ moniker, but it is really me. Enjoyed this post. Funny, I have never thought of autumn as sad before. Although the west coast does not have all the brilliance of eastern Canada/USA, we do get some incredible colours here, too. The header image is especially lovely.Thanks for sharing.

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