Use what you have, use what the world gives you.
Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness;
harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire.
Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled
with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce,
roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself.
The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die
are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see
is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before
the black and white silence of winter.
― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
I love that phrase above – that the turning of the leaves is the world’s oldest performance art.
The color change hasn’t quite come to central Virginia yet. The trees have a yellow tinge – some do at least – others remain stubbornly green, and some are slowly going from green straight to brown. A few, very few, have started to show red on their tips.
The shadows are lengthening as the sun stays lower in the horizon. Even at noon there is a long shadow on the ground and the light remains golden all day long.
The seagulls have come back to the James River. They head somewhere, presumably north, in the spring. Their return is a sure sign of fall.
It was the opposite when I lived in the Midwest. The redwing blackbirds would return in the spring. I’d drive by a field and see them clinging to a cattail, swaying in the wind. Then one day in August – I never could pinpoint the exact day it happened – but one day, they’d be gone. Just like that! And I knew fall was coming soon.
Of course, the food changes in the fall too. The apples at the farmer’s market? Wonderful. They are so much better than store bought apples with their crisp texture and equally crisp, sweet taste. The peaches and corn are long gone, the tomatoes nearly so. But the apples and pumpkins are everywhere. With the cooler nights, I can roast turkeys in the oven again, driving myself and the dogs wild with those wonderful smells.
Today I nurtured my creativity during my lunch walk by making it a point to simply observe what was around me. The study of biological phenomena has a name – phenology – which I discussed several years in my posts here and here. I have, with practice, improved my observations of nature and what it means. It’s much more relaxing to walk and notice what’s around me in that moment than to dwell on the latest problem sitting on my desk or plan what needs to be said in a phone conference later on.
Happiness, not in another place but this place…
not for another hour, but this hour.
― Walt Whitman
I also nurtured my creativity by processing this picture, then using some plug-ins to enhance it more. The photograph one (directly above) turned out superb, but I rather like the painting one better (at the top). Although I started with a preset in Topaz to create the painting effect, I adjusted it so that the colors were still distinguishable and it wasn’t just a big splash of bright colors.
Just so you can see what I did, here’s the original photograph before any processing. Remember that I shoot in raw, so anything will need some further processing before it’s usable. Were I to shoot in jpg, the camera makes those decisions for me. It doesn’t start out in a bad place, but it needs some help.
To see everything I’m doing with my 31 Days of Nurturing My Creativity, click here.
To see what others are doing with their 31 Days project, click here.
31 Days Creativity Maine (Acadia National Park) Seasons Topaz Labs Write 31 Days 31 Days Acadia National Park autumn color change fall colors living in the moment Maine nurturing creativity phenology present moment Shauna Niequist Topaz Labs Walt Whitman Witch Hole Pond Write 31 Days write31days
I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com or write me at dogear6 [at] gmail [dot] com.