"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Autumn Groundcover (1 of 2)

Autumn Groundcover (1 of 2)

From The Complete Works of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau:

“With the autumn begins in some measure a new spring. The plover is heard whistling high in the air over the dry pastures, the finches flit from tree to tree, the bobolinks and flickers fly in flocks, and the goldfinch rides on the earliest blast, like a winged hyla peeping amid the rustle of the leaves. The crows, too, begin now to congregate; you may stand and count them as they fly low and straggling over the landscape, singly or by twos and threes, at intervals of half a mile, until a hundred have passed.”

From John Muir Ultimate Collection: Travel Memoirs, Wilderness Essays, Environmental Studies and Letters by John Muir:

“In autumn, when the colors are ripe, the whole circular grove, at a little distance, looks like a big handful of flowers set in a cup….”


I spent one of my recent autumn photo-shoots looking mostly at the ground. Gravity and the fall wind position the leaves in some of the most delightful arrangements of shape, pattern, and color, so I set out to capture a few images where those arrangements caught my eye. Admittedly — since I’m basically an adult-adjacent kid at heart — some shuffling and kicking through the leaves did also occur… but not until after I took the photos!

While I was taking these pictures, I heard a leaf blower off in the distance, so it’s not impossible that some of these patterns were created by one of those satanic wind machines. I do own one, I’ll admit: it resides just inside my crawlspace door where it’s been idle for about a decade, gathering under-house dust while it rests there unused. It’s a “deluxe model” actually, one of those that you can use to vacuum up leaves which it then sucks through a grinder, reduces them to a fine powder, then deposits them in an attached (and very large) canvas bag. Sounds efficient, huh?

I used that capability once: the exploding noises made by leaves, sticks, and occasional bits of pea gravel getting pulverized a few inches from my stomach and groin just about drove me insane while I considered what would happen if the mechanism split open — which struck me as inevitable (though in real life wouldn’t happen, probably) and potentially life-changing (and not in a good way). What got the machine rendered into crawlspace oblivion however was an untended consequence of its mulching: since I live in an urban area and yard trimmings and debris have to be placed for curbside pickup in paper lawn bags, I had to transfer the ground leaves to those bags. So…

Imagine my surprise when I dumped the leaves from the stuffed canvas bag into a paper one and a cloud of leaf dust rose up like a desert sandstorm filling my back yard, covering the brick courtyard, the walls of the house, two windows, and a double-glass door — all of which I had to spend the next two hours hosing off and windexing until they were clean again. It’s probably true that I exaggerate here occasionally, for fun, just to entertain myself (and hopefully you’s)… but this is exactly what happened.

Later that same day… I went out and bought a new rake.


If you would like to see my previous fall color posts for this year, they’re all organized under this tag:

Autumn 2021

Thanks for reading and taking a look!


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