“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” ― Wassily Kandinsky

When you ask someone what their favorite season is, the answer that provokes the most exuberant reaction is probably fall. The spicy aromas, crisp cool nights, cozy outfits, and the picture-perfect changing of the leaves unite a passionate fan following with an orthodoxy of nostalgia and sensory immersion.

It's been a long time since I lived in a place without the distinct change of seasons typical of the "quintessential" fall display. But, with our latest road trip, we skimmed the territory of the color change just enough to catch a glimpse. In parts of central Tennessee, the colors were beginning to emerge, and the first layer of crunchy fall confetti had begun to shower the ground.

Little spore

Is fall your favorite season?

The spell of the intoxicating colors and textures - and the heightened sense of anticipation that bears the palpable changes in nature's rhythms with breathtaking swiftness - is an irresistible magic. Like the most prestigious events of high fashion, nature's finest gala is both dramatic and exclusive, saving the most flamboyant show for a brief display of splendor, only when and where it judges the atmosphere to be just right. Blink, and you miss the highlights.

Tulip tree

More than spring, fall is a unique glimpse into the renewal of living things. Creatures store food for the season of scarcity ahead, burrowing into the earth to search for warmth and shelter, and plants hurry to cast their last spores and seeds, shedding their growth to build the organic layer that feeds the next generation. In the chill of the air, the whole autumnal world shivers at the stark barrenness that looms ahead, in exchange for the next spring's rebirth.

As the nights grow longer and the days grow dim, humankind has learned to celebrate this great trade by mimicking nature's grand finale, and prolonging its festival of color and comfort and light to feed the soul through the darker months of the year. The rituals of fall, like the natural world they still echo, weave a story of longing for the sunlight and the reassurance of growing things, from long ago when the looming dormancy meant much more than just the inconvenience of winter blues.

River of gold

So in the fall, we pay homage to the brightness and splendor that blaze for a moment before the long dreary sleep. The most wonderful place to watch the season change, I have found, is near a river, where hardwoods soak their thirsty roots and stretch their limbs over the cold water mists. Here, the fiery colors linger a little longer, burn a little brighter - living shrines to the exchange of the sun and the water as the current carries the seasons forward through the circuit of time.

The rushing sound of the waterfall reminds me of the ocean; I wonder if it remembers that it's been there before?

Rutledge Falls, TN.

Just like this mountain stream, I'm making my way back to the sea again. The colors are milder there, and the sand is still warm; and though the ocean itself has no seasons, it is the bearer of them all. From here, I'll still see the fiery glow of fall reflected from a distance on the next sunset horizon.

Keeping chasing the sun 🌅

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Peace, Love & Travel ✌️