French philosopher Albert Camus described autumn as “a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Spring places no bounds on the coloring of its flowers, while the leaves of autumn are usually limited to the spectrum of yellow, red and orange.
Leaves change color somewhat differently every year. The timing of the color change is triggered by decreasing light in fall and by a combination of other factors – temperature, rainfall and food supply. Contrary to the stories of our childhood, least important is the handiwork of old Jack Frost.
As the season progresses, the rural roads of the Finger Lakes become colorful carpets of fallen autumn leaves, reminding us that our “second spring” is about to end.
The beauty that is autumn is essentially the result of death. However, as leaves succumb – turning from green to yellow, red or orange, before falling by the millions – they paint broad, bright strokes across the landscapes of the Finger Lakes. As the days turn colder, our memories of our “second spring” help us take pleasure in autumns yet to come.
by Bill Banaszewski