I discovered today what I actually love about Fall. It's cooler, yes, and the leaves turn colors. And I never see a pile of leaves, whether gathered by hand or by wind, without wanting to scuff through it. I love the smell of crushed leaves. But I realized today that those things are not what makes Fall special. It helps to think through what the other seasons are about.
Winter is about death, sleeping, waiting. Plants decomposing into the ground; animals sleeping through the cold; breath hanging in the air, waiting.
Spring is rebirth, midwifed by the wind. Winter's offal, washed away by the rain, pushed aside by the living shoots it fed. Shinryoku-- new green, spring green, the color that lightens the hillsides. The cherry blossoms are Japan's Janus--presiding over graduations and entrance ceremonies.
Summer is life sounding forth in every register. A stately, decadent symphony accompanied by cicadas, and snowmelt; storms and silence; crawling, twining, straining upward, bursting open. A thousand colors, some at the ultraviolet end of the spectrum that only bees can see.
Fall is the season of Defiance. Death and cold are coming, but Fall sees the harvest of grain, of fruit, of vegetables.
Grain-heavy rice plant heads droop, awaiting harvest.
The leaves are still yellow-green,
...but grainheads gleam golden in a stray sunbeam.
(Kitateha--Polygonia c-aureum, fall form)
Fall is when Mardi Gras ought to be held--the last jubilant dancing, feasting, drinking before lent.
(somebody got a great closeup at Maioka park in our area)
The color morning glories ought to be, if they can manage it...
Still, in spite of the tumultuous tangle of vegetables and vines...
...of flowers and grasses attended by various representatives of Lepidoptera...
(Kitateha-- the Asian Comma-- accompanied by BeniShijimi, Lycaena phlaeas--Small Copper-- in a diplomatic meeting concerning the health of field grasses...)
Alight, Mesugurohyoumon gleams chrome. Only the female looks like an old photograph; the male is burnished copper and dark sepia (Damora Sagana).
...it's cloudy, and the wind occasionally reminds me I ought to have brought a jacket.
...at the break in the clouds.
When I go walking I never know what I'll find--always something,though, never nothing. A window in the roadside foliage reveals a field full of pink and white cosmos. This is the sort of thing I live for. Cosmos, in spite of the fact that it is a fall flower, is my adopted Birthday flower because somebody had the temerity to appoint Gladiolas for August. Gladiolas! Never planted right, always out at elbows-- just who exactly is in charge of birthday flowers, please? I'd like a word. In advance of speaking to management about it, I've chosen Cosmos for August. In Defiance.