Trees in Autumn: A Seasonal Display of Splendor and Sadness

In Autumn, the Leaves Have One Last Fling of Color before They Fall and Die

Trees in Templeton California in November, 2011
Trees in Templeton California in November, 2011 | Source

The Contrast between Splendor and Sorrow

This tree sits beside my home in the Riverbank tract in Paso Robles.
This tree sits beside my home in the Riverbank tract in Paso Robles. | Source
The oak, which is just beginning to lose its leaves, still stands green in contrast to its neighbors and the vineyard in the background.
The oak, which is just beginning to lose its leaves, still stands green in contrast to its neighbors and the vineyard in the background. | Source
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An Autumn Walk in Paso Robles, California

As I walk the streets of my neighborhood and visit various vineyards on this late November day, the signs of autumn are everywhere. The trees sport leaves in shades of red, gold, and, finally, brown, and they can be seen floating softly to the ground, carried by a gentle breeze, a cold wind, or pounding rain. As the trees begin to look more like skeletons of their former selves, the ground acquires a new carpet in red, yellow, and brown. (As you look at the pictures to the right, you can see them full size by clicking on them. )

In autumn, we humans often reflect on the brevity of life, as we watch the leaves, once so splendid, lose their color and fade on the ground, only to be raked away for the compost pile or the trash. We see the bare trees and realize that each of us loses some of our abilities as we come close to the end of our lives. So even as we witness the splendid colors of autumn, we can be filled with melancholy knowing that winter is quickly approaching.

As I walked through my Riverbank neighborhood in Paso Robles this morning, there was gorgeous color on every street. But right next to the splendid trees were the sad ones, like this sycamore (platanus occidentalis) that lives next door to me. It has lost almost all its leaves and they are blowing all over the neighborhood. The tree to its right is bronze with fall color, but soon it will be not better off than its sycamore cousin.

At the entrance to the tract, this sweetgum tree has lost about half of its reddish leaves, and they are piled right underneath it. Behind it, though, sits a tree still almost green, with growing tinges of red. One is in sorry shape, the other still splendid. I believe this one is an Autumn Blaze Ornamental Pear. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments. It wasn't in any of my field guides, and I tried to track it down on line.

I was standing under this tree in the video below as the wind began to blow the leaves away and I could hear them flutter in the wind. I decided to share the words to an old children's song of the 1880's in the first part of this video to introduce it until the wind picked up again.


Listen to the Falling Leaves as They Dance Away with the Wind

Goldenrain Tree in Mid-October

This is the exact same tree as below, but six weeks sooner when the leaves were still green and the seedpods provided the contrasting rust color. Taken October 17
This is the exact same tree as below, but six weeks sooner when the leaves were still green and the seedpods provided the contrasting rust color. Taken October 17 | Source
This is the same tree as above, but six weeks later. When leaves became yellow, the pods became a dark brown. Taken November 28.
This is the same tree as above, but six weeks later. When leaves became yellow, the pods became a dark brown. Taken November 28.

Is Anything So Sad as a Bare Tree?

There is definitely something sad about a tree that has lost all its leaves, living under a gray autumn sky.
There is definitely something sad about a tree that has lost all its leaves, living under a gray autumn sky. | Source

Changes in a Single Tree

I have used as my example the golden rain tree (seen as both two words and compound word), since I happened to photograph it before its leaves started changing color. I have found it interesting that although the pods (or fruit with the seeds) were already present in mid-October, they were a lovely rust color that were complemented by the green of the leaves. As the leaves began to yellow and get ready to fall off, the pods also became darker, and contrasted perfectly with the yellow leaves.

Here's How to Handle Those Autumn Leaves

Lawn Claws Garden and Yard Leaf Scoops, 45TA
Lawn Claws Garden and Yard Leaf Scoops, 45TA

If you didn't opt for the leaf loader above, this is the next best thing. Just use the claws to scoop up that big pile of leaves in a quarter of the time it would ordinarily take.

 
Flowtron LE-900 The Ultimate Mulcher Electric Leaf Shredder
Flowtron LE-900 The Ultimate Mulcher Electric Leaf Shredder

Don't want to wait for leaves to compost? Use this handy leaf shredder to mulch them right away to cover tender plants for winter. Do read reviews and remember it does need some simple assembly and it is for leaves and grasses only.

 

Autumn Splendor on the Roads

Click thumbnail to view full-size
See in front of the First Baptist Church in Paso Robles, CA.This was taken in a parking lot in Atascadero.This tree was next to the road in Lawrence Moore Park in Paso Robles.This is a close-up of the fruit produced by the tree above. This is a view down the hill on this Templeton country lane. You'll see it better if you click to make it full size.
See in front of the First Baptist Church in Paso Robles, CA.
See in front of the First Baptist Church in Paso Robles, CA. | Source
This was taken in a parking lot in Atascadero.
This was taken in a parking lot in Atascadero. | Source
This tree was next to the road in Lawrence Moore Park in Paso Robles.
This tree was next to the road in Lawrence Moore Park in Paso Robles. | Source
This is a close-up of the fruit produced by the tree above.
This is a close-up of the fruit produced by the tree above. | Source
This is a view down the hill on this Templeton country lane. You'll see it better if you click to make it full size.
This is a view down the hill on this Templeton country lane. You'll see it better if you click to make it full size. | Source

The Splendor of Autumn is Transient

The trees in North San Luis Obispo County do not put on the same show that people on the East Coast take for granted, but as you drive the streets in the north county, there is plenty of color this autumn. It's not limited to parks and forests, but the streets seem to have been planned to include autumn color. I do not remember seeing this in Los Angeles, or even Ventura County when I lived there.


It would be easy to take our street show for granted, too, if it weren't almost everywhere we look. As I drive to my errands each day, I marvel at the characteristics of each tree -- whether I know it's name or not. The oaks remain a deep green even as their leaves float away, but they are often right in the midst of flaming vineyards that show all the colors to best advantage. The sweetgum trees look a bit like Christmas trees that need no lights to glow. The ornamental pears and purple leaf plum trees add deeper hues of red and purple. And, scattered in yards among them are the colorful red and green cottoneaster shrubs, with their bright berries, reminding us that Christmas is just around the corner.

Autumn Trees at Templeton Country Home

Source

Autumn Has a Note of Melancholy

The Sadness at the Brevity of Beauty

As we see the stunning colors fade when leaves fall, die, and turn brown, so we, too, begin to see our physical beauty fade in the autumn of life. Hair may thin, wrinkles appear, skin gets thinner and drier, pounds take longer to come off, and we often don't like what we see in the mirror anymore. It is the season of life when the beauty within becomes more important than exterior beauty. When the oak below was covered with leaves in the spring and summer, the support system of the tree which held it erect and supplied its nutrients was not visible. It is only visible when all the leafy veneer is gone and only the heart of the tree is left. Surviving storms through its life formed the gnarled branches which give it character and now add to its mature beauty.

Autumn is the season when our fruit becomes more apparent and our neighbors and families can see it. What shows are our attitudes and character. It may also be a lonely season when our mates and friends may have already left this earth, and we may walk alone, except for God.

As a Christian, I hope that this season continues to develop the fruit of the Spirit that I should be bearing, so that it will begin to be visible to those I interact with. That will happen if I walk with God and abide in Christ so that I am more rooted in him day by day.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...." Galatians 5:22


Beauty Revealed

I hope near the end of my life I will be like this strong oak tree, with my fruit scattered to meet the needs of others, while I remain, gnarled and strong, and still able to bear fruit in season for the years I have left.
I hope near the end of my life I will be like this strong oak tree, with my fruit scattered to meet the needs of others, while I remain, gnarled and strong, and still able to bear fruit in season for the years I have left. | Source

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25 comments

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

I love this multi-media piece you've put together on the autumn leaves Wanna B. Your poem with sound of leaves rustling in the wind is really special and you picked a great song to accompany the story. Lovely photos, really enjoyed this and your philosophical message about aging, thank you so much. Regards, snakeslane


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thank you, snakeslane. I think one can't appreciate autumn fully unless one has taken time to just watch and listen as it happens. Otherwise, one will wake up one morning and wonder where all the leaves have gone.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Yrs, I agree. I am an obssesive 'watcher' of nature. That keeps me grounded (literally). I have a cherry tree in my yard that I 'read' every day. I love to see the changes.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

snakeslane, I not only have to watch my trees daily, but I also seemed compelled to capture important changes on camera. The video in this hub is the first one I ever did with a voice over on the MAC iMovie, which meant leaving my comfort zone of Flip software and recording on my new camera.


Senoritaa profile image

Senoritaa 5 years ago

That's a great collection. Autumn indeed is beautiful. Great hub.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Hello WannaB. We had a gorgeous Fall also. However my favorite is the huge old grandma tree at the end. As you so elegantly said, I want to be like that at the end of my life. This Hub is glorious. You did a great job putting it together. I love the video.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks so much, Hyphenbird. Would you believe I didn't know how this hub would end until I got to the end? Then I saw the analogy. I think sometimes the old and bare trees are some of the most interesting. That last tree lives across the street from me, and it's also a bee tree. I have lots of opportunities to see it and photograph it. Just wish I could move the lamp post that intrudes into all the pictures. No way to crop it out.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Explore a free photo editing program called GIMP. It has a clone tool that allows one to remove unwanted items in a photograph. You can probably find a video about it on YouTube. Lamp post be gone!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thanks. I'm not sure I'm smart enough to use GIMP -- at least not until I have time to deal with the learning curve. I did look at it once before. Not sure if my iPhoto does clones. I have Photoshop Elements 9 and haven't seen the need to install it yet because the MAC programs came on the computer. But I'd better find out about this clone feature to see if my current software has it.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is an outstanding hub, so beautiful. The Autumn tree colors are spectacular. Thank you for sharing..Bravo..


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

The fluttering of the leaves in the video is just lovely and the song you have chosen beautiful.

An outstanding hub, thank you for sharing and voting up.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thank you, Movie Master. It was my first experiment with video taken with a still camera and edited with a voice over in iMovie. I still have a lot to learn, but I really enjoyed doing it.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi,

I love this hub and your video clip is brilliant.

Hmmm this is something that I could have a go at in the new year,there are so many ventures to experiment with!!

I am voting this one up up and away and also bookmarking.

I love anything to do with nature etc and I assure you that this one is indeed a treat.

Carry on with the good work and I am on to another of your hubs now.

Take care my very dear friend and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Eddy, I envision you as one who will be like the mighty oak, one who will endure despite the hard places you have walked through and will continue to face on your journey through life. I enjoy your work very much because I sense you are a kindred spirit. Thank you for your encouraging words. I will be publishing again when I have more time. Meanwhile, I can continue to enjoy what others, including you, publish.


sunkentreasure profile image

sunkentreasure 4 years ago

THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S LOVE By BERNARD LEVINE

God is amazing

He chooses every baby's DNA and blood type

He puts every star in place to float in the sky

He creates every fingerprint with a rare design

He makes an egg to burst open with life.

God is great

He selects all the love-songs for every bird to sing

He makes broken bones mend

He gives every flower its specific perfume

He cares for seeds and they turn to fruit.

God is awesome

He tells the seasons when to change

He gives us air so we can breathe

He feeds multitudes of living organisms on our planet

He waters fields of green carpets with morning dew.

Every leaf is a marvel of God's genius

Every baby is filled with God's love

There is nothing in this world more precious

than the beautiful kindness of God.

© Bernard Levine


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

How beautiful, Bernard. Thank you for gracing my hub with this. I couldn't agree more.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

We must have had the same thoughts going through our minds as we both wrote similar hubs at the same time. Enjoyed seeing the gorgeous fall colors in your area also. Each season has its special beauty. Up and beautiful votes.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Peggy,

When we see the colors, they cannot help but impress anyone whose paying attention. I wrote this, and another for Squidoo to add to an autumn lens I already had there. One can always find something new to say, and new pictures to post.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I love the strong oak tree at the end of the hub. My parents have a tree like that one, which I have photographed in many of my hubs.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Sweetie Pie, As you can probably tell, I love oak tress of all kinds, but especially those trees that have met with adverse conditions. I love photographing them.


asmaiftikhar profile image

asmaiftikhar 4 years ago from Pakistan

beautiful and worth praising expression of a season.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Thank you for your kind words. Autumn is so beautiful it's hard to put it all into words. That's why it needs so many pictures.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I love autumn and don't find it sad at all and the bare trees are just so gorgeous I think. What I think is sad is telephone wires. Is there a spot on earth without those things?! Such beautiful pictures I have missed because of them. You have beautiful blue sky there just like I do in the southern part of the nation. Enjoyed this, thank you!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Alas, when I think of the pictures I've wanted to get and didn't because of those blasted wires! They are strung between almost all the trees in the residential areas of Paso Robles and Templeton -- my local photography opportunity cities. There have been beautiful trees surrounded by wires. They line the roads the vineyards are on. I'm always having to go past them where possible or stand under them. Seems there's always a fence or a wire in the way there. Yet, I really don't want to sacrifice the advantages of having electricity nor do I think anyone else should do it just so I can get better pictures. I guess we'll have to live with it.

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