Autumn brings in a riot of colours. As Albert Camus said, “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” nature blushes into the brightest colors of red, orange, yellow and gold. There seem to be a competition among the foliage to show off. Each tree becomes a spectacular vision. Writers and poets have talked about its various aspects. Anumita celebrates the resplendent beauty of nature, in this photo-essay, telling us interesting aspect of the fall, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
By Robert Louis Stevenson
The autumnal equinox usually fall between September 22 and 23. In Latin the word “equinox” means equal night and day. It has been 16years I have lived in the state of Ohio. It is a northern state just below the Great Lakes, Lake Eire to be specific. Every season, this side of the country is very distinct and they have their own charm. Just before the year ends, autumn makes its great appearance.
Autumn is also known as the fall. As Albert Camus said, “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” nature blushes into the brightest colors of red, orange, yellow and gold. There seem to be a competition among the foliage to show off. Each tree becomes a spectacular vision. As the cool air settles in, each leaves creates a spectacular colour. And slowly turns brown before it shed from the branches. This is a preparation for winter.
During the fall, in response to colder temperatures and less light, leaves stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment that helps capture sunlight to power photosynthesis. As the green fades, the leave’s other pigments shine through, such as orange and yellow carotenoids and vibrant red anthocyanin. 1
Etymologists are unsure of the origin of the word “autumn,” though they believe it comes from the ancient Etruscan root autu, which implies a change of season. In this scenario, the Romans then appropriated the term and formed the Latin word “autumnus”. 2
Most meteorologists define autumn as lasting through September, October, and November in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, autumn lasts through March, April, and May. Specifically in New Zealand and Australia, autumn officially begins on March 1 and ends on May 31. 3
Since ancient times, autumn has ranked as one of the most important times of year as daylight begins to fade and cold, dark days lie ahead. Because a good harvest is necessary for survival, many societies tried to ensure a good harvest by honoring various gods and goddesses. Some societies, such as the Aztecs, in ancient Mexico, even made human sacrifices to please the gods. 4
Autumn has historically been a rich symbol of both bounty and death, and writers have been fascinated with both sides of this dualism. Yeats, for example, wrote a poem “To Autumn” in which he uses autumn as an allegory of aging and death. Additionally, in The Great Gatsby, autumn represents the loss Gatsby feels after his love affair with Daisy ends. 5
1. Bryner, Jeanna. “Autumn Equinox: 5 Odd Facts about Fall.” Live Science. September 22, 2013. Accessed: July 19, 2014.
2. Etymologists are unsure of the origin of the word “autumn,” though they believe it comes from the ancient Etruscan root “autu”, which implies a change of season. In this scenario, the Romans then appropriated the term and formed the Latin word autumnus.
3. Marchand, Peter J. Autumn: A Season of Change. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2000.
4. Harvest Celebrations (World Book’s Celebrations and Rituals around the World). Chicago, IL: World Book, Inc, 2003.
5. Marchand, Peter J. Autumn: A Season of Change. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2000.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Pix by the author.
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