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The Colors of the Seasons

Updated on March 04, 2013
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Linda lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. She writes about nature, social justice, and Native America.

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Seasons come and seasons go but here in the southeast, the change of seasons is often remarkable for the colors that each season brings to nature. Each season the landscapes change and take on a new personality. These new personalities often call our attention to things we may not have noticed in the prior season. If you have ever photographed a favorite place at different times of the year, you probably know what I mean.

To observe a landscape at different times of the year is to remind ourselves that in nature, change is constant. Nature understands that there is a time to push forth newness and growth and a time to retire into restorative, dormant silence. In nature, the seasons provide balance. When there is drought in one season, another will provide the badly needed rain or snow. When there is too much moisture, the next season may be hot and dry. Yes, in nature, the seasons understand their relationship to each other and they work in ways that humans often misunderstand to provide for the soil, the plant life, and the four legged creatures too. Yes, in nature all things are relative and that is where we will begin to talk about color.

Colors of Spring

For many of us, the thought of Spring signals a burst of color from flowering trees and flowers. Here in central Virginia, the deep amethyst purple and butter-cream yellow crocus are the first flowers that signal Spring’s imminent arrival. On their heels are the daffodils who appear in shades ranging from vanilla to bright maize. Both of these brave little flowers will weather the last of the winter snows with determination and courage. These little sentinels understand that soon they will be joined by the tiny white flowers of the Bradford Pear and the blood-stained petals on the Dogwood will appear against a backdrop of Dodger-blue skies. These gifts of nature understand their relationship to the changing seasons and are happy to be the symbols of change and renewal.

Spring Colors

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Colors of Summer

In nature, the color of the grass is relative to the amount of snow that fell in Winter and the volume of rain that came with the arrival of Spring. When there is abundant moisture, the grass may range from rich chartreuse to deep emerald green. A lack of significant moisture also tells its story when the grass of Spring ranges from apple to olive green. The flowers of summer do not pale for the lack of moisture though. No, this is another example of the balance of nature. The summer flowers have a role to play and they are not daunted by dry, arid conditions. The Iris stand tall in shades of royal blue, soft thistle, or bright magenta. The peonies bend with the weight of their big bold blossoms of white tipped in shades of rose and tulips pop with every bright, bold color of the spectrum. In nature, where one is lacking, there is another that shines. It is the balance and the colors of summer represent nature at its best.

Summer Colors

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Colors of Autumn

Autumn is the time when nature begins preparing for it’s Winter sleep. Again, we find the balance as some things begin and some will end. The flow of sap that is the lifeblood of the trees increases and the maples produce the wonderful, sweet syrup we love. The flowers and grasses, however, will begin to draw nutrients from the earth to sustain them through the coming months. They begin to conserve their energy, growth diminishes, and colors begin to fade. That, is the balance in nature. And there is more.

When the flowers of summer begin to fade in Autumn, the trees assume the role of color-makers. As the days of Autumn grow shorter, the trees begin to produce less chlorophyll and more sugars. In summer, the production of chlorophyll is at its highest level and the result is our enjoyment of the shade of those deep, green leaves. In Autumn though, the production of sugars is higher than the level of chlorophyll which produces the colors we associate with Autumn. The natural colors of the trees appear and range from bright yellow to tangerine to ruby red. Nature is the master of artistry and balance and nowhere is it more evident than in Autumn.

Autumn Colors

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Colors of Winter

The color most associated with winter is white and according to Wikipedia, “white is the color most often associated with innocence, perfection, the good, honesty, cleanliness, the beginning, the new, neutrality, lightness, and exactitude”. How perfect that nature gave us a season of these qualities. Winter is a time to put away the old and begin our preparation for the new. Just as light is reflected from the surface of winter snows, winter provides us the opportunity to reflect and prepare for new challenges. But winter also gives us shades of gray, from light ash to dark taupe, in the branches of the trees who have shed their leaves and stand brave and naked against the cold winds of winter. The grays of winter speak to neutrality, of finding our center once again. This too is nature’s way of providing balance.

Winter Color

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The Colors in Nature

One cannot cover all the colors in nature in a single writing. The colors in nature are the work of the master artist, the one we call by many names. Our human nature cannot fully comprehend the complexity of the palette that creates the colors of a landscape or the patterns in a sky. It is beyond our capacity to recreate the true colors of a rainbow or to understand the balance between chlorophyll and sugars. We are incapable of words that accurately describe the colors of the seasons but we try. We try because we are grateful for the gift of vision. We try because we too are the work of the master artist and because we know that if we never experience the cold white of winter, we would not have the capacity to appreciate the warm winds of summer. It is the balance.

Enjoy more beautiful color from nature

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  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I am a bit more south than you so I m seeing crocus, daffodils and now the Easter Lily opening up and our Camillas are quite a sight too, dark and light ones. I have been shooting what I can of them but the trees are so drab and I think I won't have to wait more than a couple weeks to see all those budding up. I love spring!

    Beautiful pictures, great hub! Up and shared.

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

    This is a marvelous article, Linda, with glorious photos. I enjoyed both the writing and the pictures.

    Here in central Mississippi, the temps vary so much from day to day during our brief winter that my Japanese magnolia tree always blooms too early the first time, only to have its lovely blooms turn brown and fall to the ground within days. Even with colder temperatures, the daffodils by my walk burst into bloom in mid-February. They aren't quite as bright today after the thermometer dropped to 27 yesterday with flurries of snow (that didn't stick or last long), but they're still blooming today in sunshine.

    Autumn is such a short season here that I miss it if I stay indoors a full day! Spring is a bit longer and, pollen aside, a lovely time.

    It's summer, however, that reigns in my part of the world. I enjoy the flowers that bloom most of the season and ignore the brown of my lawn when the grass finally gives up. (I refuse to waste gallons and gallons of water to water a half acre of lawn.)

    When we accept what nature provides with each season, there is always something to enjoy.

    Voted Up+++

    Jaye

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

    Nature gets it right every time painting our world to perfection with the colors unrivaled by any we can produce. And you are so right about balance...having experienced the bitter cold in South Dakota years ago makes me so appreciative of my warm home now. Although, I loved the play and fun we had in the snow

    The video was a great complement to your article.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Sending you many Angels this evening.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    This is poetry my friend. Excellent writing. There should be like 100 comments on this already. I adored the entire thing except for mentioning the Dodgers, but I'm willing to overlook that little flaw. :)

    Serious, Kindred, this was an excellent way for me to end my online day.

    bill

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

    Another beauty of a hub my dear friend! Yes, there is no artist better than that of the true master. As I have stated before, He is the author of the original "Starry Nights."

    Thank you for this lovely hub here. Stunning imagery and video.

    Voted up ++++ and sharing

    God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Jackie. I'm with you. Spring can't come soon enough for me. We are expecting our most significant snow of the season in a couple of days so I hope it's a farewell snow. Thanks for the compliment and for sharing.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Jaye! You and I must think alike. I can't see watering a lawn either. Many of the new homes in my area are naturalizing their lawns so they don't have to water or mow very much. Who wants to mow when they could be out enjoying the beautiful gifts that nature provides? Daffodils are my favorite flower of all because they do signal the coming of a warmer season and they are so very brave. Thank you for the visit and the sharing.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Patricia, if you have lived in South Dakota, then you do indeed know what cold, white winters are all about. I have many friends living on Pine Ridge Reservation and I worry about them every year until Winter vanishes. Your comment warms my heart like the first warm winds of Spring. Thank you!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bill, I apologize. There just is no other description for that shade of blue so "Dodger" it had to be. lol Thanks so much for the compliment. I wasn't so sure about this one so to have you appreciate it means the world to me. Few comments so far but those few have made my heart swell. Hope you enjoyed some sunshine today!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sweet Faith, I knew you would understand this one. So often I am awed by the beauty in nature and am always, always aware that no man or woman can equal the artistry of God. Thank you for your lovely compliment and for your presence in my life. Sending love and hugs your way.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Well done. I wish you could see SF. In 40 min. right now, You could experience all these seasons. We are rich in colors.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    MH, thank you. I will close my eyes and pretend I'm in SF. I have a vivid imagination. lol

  • Amy Becherer profile image

    Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    No matter where we live, time brings balance in the cycle of life. I couldn't help but think of the previous articles you have shared here regarding growing up, your family and the changes you and yours are experiencing in the cycle of life. I thought of my own parents, Linda, their lives, my beloved father's passing and my mother's decline. Just like the autumn preparing for winter's silence, your beautiful masterpiece is filled with the nuances beneath the surface. Gorgeous writing, photography and meaningful thoughtfulness in this visual feast for the eyes and soul, Linda.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

    What a beautiful hub and thank you so much for this gem. I vote up,across and share all around .

    Enjoy your day.

    Eddy.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Amy, thank you so much and yes, there was an underlying concept to this piece. Sometimes I think it is a curse to see so much human-ness in nature and so little nature in humans. But it is the way I see; all things related and relative. Life is a cycle, just like the cycles in nature and yes, our lives (and those of our parents) are traveling and have traveled the circle. Beginnings and endings make up the cycle and both can be painful sometimes. Sending love and hugs to you my friend.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Eddy, I consider your comment a real treasure of a gift. Thank you so much.

  • farmloft profile image

    farmloft 4 years ago from Michigan

    "In nature, change is constant" is very true! The colors of spring are a little ways off for me -- but I love living where there are four distinct seasons.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    farmloft, hello and thank you for visiting my thoughts on the colors of the seasons. I certainly your thoughts and am blessed to enjoy the variety of very distinct seasons.

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