This is a collection of shots I took this week. The first is in a small park near Jambes, Namur right next to the Meuse. It was a pleasant day and I was trying again to capture the autumn colours here in Belgium but when I started processing I realised that it would look better and say more in monochrome. The weather at the moment does not help either, there is a lack of sunlight to bring out the colours, which I find a little frustrating.
I have since been out walking in the forest around where I live but that iconic autumn photo eludes me. What I love the most about the forest at this time of year is that the paths are just covered in different coloured leaves, like a brightly coloured carpet. Like that are lying there just waiting for the sun to break through the trees and light them to life… I just love the smell of the forest, Autumn’s odeur is just wonderful, that damp, musty, leafy, earthy smell. As I was walking down the path, through the trees I disturbed a buzzard who promptly took off weaving his way between the branches. It always amazes me how these quite large birds of prey manage to fly in such confined spaces avoiding all collisions.
I used to dislike this time of year. As soon as the days started getting shorter I would start feeling a definite depression coming over me that I would try my best to ignore. So, several years ago now I decided that I ought to start and learn how to love each season for what it has to offer and learn to live closer in harmony with the cycle of life. I started to reflect on the meaning of each season for me, getting closer to our yearly cycle and observing changes. Autumn’s coming, is a long way from being the touch of death, as some may have come to think.
In my research, which took me to remote islands and other forests, I discovered that far from being a sign of death and decay, a sign of the end, autumn to my surprise was proof of the beginning of new things. It is a very necessary time of year when it may seem like all is dying around us but in reality the sense of calm is just an illusion. Trees and plants prepare to sink down their roots, worms, beetles and other things, feast on the blanket of dead leaves. Fungi push up through the undergrowth and edible mushrooms can be found. Small mammals, like squirrels can often be seen scurrying through the leaves, foraging for nuts and other titbits. Large birds of prey suddenly seem to be more present.
The Celts saw this time of year as the beginning of the new as they also saw the sunset as the beginning of the new day. So what does autumn mean to you? For me it has become a time of wonder, a time to strengthen my own roots in life, to nourish myself and prepare for the coming season of winter but above all to understand that this is the beginning of new things of new possibilities. That, far from being a time when death and decay is all around, it is when the forest is very active and life is abound. Without autumn, there would be no spring! And, what does this mean to me and to you as we grow older and pass from the summer of my life towards the autumn light..?
As I reflect, I realise that this is a spiral that goes down and down, round and round, drawing me closer and closer to the author of this wonderful dance.