(Host) Former Vermont governor and commentator Madeleine Kunin is contemplating the singular beauty of the first days of Fall.
Fall has moved in gently, following a glorious sun splashed summer.
Bits and pieces of color can already be discovered, as we await the full
blast of reds and yellows almost ready to burst forth. A few night
frosts should do it.
But the greens already hint that this is
the end of their time, not the beginning. Spring is more subtle with its
myriad soft shades of green, one light color superimposed on another. A
painter’s pallet would find it difficult to contain them all. And
spring is full of promise – an affirmation of rebirth, an introduction
Fall is less light-hearted than spring, more somber,
more serious. Yes, there are variations of green, from dark to very
dark, but the contrast in shadings is hard to detect, a long shadow
seems to have fallen on the green hills, merging the colors together.
feel the change of the seasons on our toes and the backs of our necks
and begin to replace open sandals with proper shoes and pull out drawers to search for last year’s sweaters. On sunny days sweaters are
cast off by noon. The sky never seemed so blue and the lake water so
lively. On gray sky windy days, fall becomes serious. We have to start
paying attention to the earth’s turning, and acknowledge, with some
foreboding, that winter’s dark will soon enfold us. Think of the cozy
fire, the drawn drapes, the lit candles, the refuge of indoor warmth,
layered against the white bite of winter.
On dark days, when
memories of spring speak of beginnings, fall can bring forth the fear of
endings. Nature sleeps under its blanket of dead leaves. Daylight fades
early and reappears late. We hover by the lampshade, and open a book.
we experience fall for what it is, its own season, neither a harbinger
of beginnings nor of endings? We can take deep breaths of the special
perfume of fall, inspired by dying leaves and crisp air. We can look
carefully at the variations of dark green, stand still in the woods for
more than a moment and watch the leaves glide effortlessly to their
Can we allow ourselves to be in awe of the
inevitability of the changing of the seasons? When all the world appears
to be in a tumult, Nature, despite being assaulted by climate change,
retains its essential steady rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of
winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the
new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of