This year’s early frost deprived me of enjoying my favorite time of the year, of the brilliant fall colors, both in Boulder and in the mountains. On a hike to Gem Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park last week, the leaves had already been stripped from the aspen trees, leaving a bare, ready- for-winter landscape.
And down here on the plains, instead of a palette of reds, yellows, and oranges, the trees are pale greens and beiges. I felt like I wanted to find a cheap fare to Green Bay and fly out for a long weekend of brilliant falls colors in the north woods of Wisconsin. But I didn’t really have the money or the time.
And there was that insistent voice that said: sit still, stop hopping around trying to find something better. We live in a world where, if we don’t like the weather or the view or the landscape, we can hop a plane to someplace that better suits our fancy or get in our car and drive. Even if we can’t leave for fairer climes, we can ignore the weather, watch TV, stay in our offices, put down the blinds.
But it’s a good feeling to accept what’s happening in my world and to stay with it, not fight it. It almost feels like a solidarity with nature. I’ll stick with these trees that are going through early withdrawal from summer and fall. I’ll watch the abundance of summer slowly dwindle: as the trees and bushes become bare, the tall grasses start to collapse and flatten under the weight of the snow, the milkweed plants become dry stalks and their seedheads start to spill out of the pods.
This is what the world offers, and I want to be part of it, not to judge whether it is good or bad but accepting it as what is. For now, I’m happy to watch the winds carry the silky milkweed seeds off, watching them float down into fields or streams or into the blue depths of the sky.