Today I returned from a few days of personal photography in the Adirondacks following a series of workshops. It was interesting to return to the same places I visited less than two weeks ago, witnessing the rapid change that occurs this time of year. Most of the maples had shed their leaves, while the beeches were just now reaching their peak, setting the forest understory ablaze in shades of deep orange and gold. Soon time will usher in autumn’s second act. The trees will have been laid bare, their naked limbs seemingly stretching upward as if awaiting the first dusting of snow.
I am always struck by a feeling of deep melancholy when I say goodbye to the woods this time of year, knowing what is soon to come. The reason is obvious I suppose, a reminder of another year soon reaching its end. And while I am more than ready to bid adieu to this year of personal tragedy and difficulty, I find the speed at which time is moving to be unsettling. Walking with the fallen leaves crunching underfoot I can’t help but realize that I too am well into this life’s second act. What will the next few years bring?
Only two days ago I leisurely strolled along an old backwoods road in the bright sunshine, reveling in the sights, sounds, and smells of this most magical time of year. It had been a few years since I last visited this place, and I made a vow to return annually at this time. Every now and then I stopped to make a photo, but that wasn’t my objective. All that mattered that afternoon was the experience of being alone with nature, to see beyond myself and my problems, to see a world much larger than me. Soon the woods will be transformed once again, and I hope I will be as well.