If This is Not Autumn What Is It?



Autumn isn’t a season. It’s a mood within a cultural tradition, that views life as a flow out of the earth during certain degrees of tilt of its northern shoulder¬† towards or away from the sun. In other words, it’s the mood that a certain group of humans have come to use as a means of reading that quality of light. Previous groups of humans used standing stones, moons, stories, songs, or the amount of water falling from the sky.


Leaving seasons behind is liberating. The flow remains. It exists in the image above, which is traditionally read in Canada as a falling away into a time of rest before the life force springs forth again, combined with a sense of ripeness. This is an ancient world that Europeans brought from Asian millennia ago. In the Okanagan, though, it says that the land in the image below is dead from the effects of summer, since it isn’t springing forth, and is waiting to be returned to a watery state by winter before springing forth again.



That’s simply not true. That dry scene has already sprouted with mid-August thunderstorms and is soaking up October’s rains. This is spring, just before the great time of growth under the lens of the snow. Life here is not about a springing forth, but about a holding. And that’s the beauty of it.

The (Post) Colonial Landscape

These plants have gone wild from a garden above them. Not one is native here. They are native to Eastern North America.p1270436

To survive in its illusion of seasons, White culture requires extensive plantings of this colour. It is taught in school, even. It is even called “fall colour.” It is the east in the west, really. This is history, written in a story of loss and longing, of the pain of separation and an attempt to heal it with physical gestures of care. Let’s praise that care.


Let’s follow it.

The Mind of a Thistle

This is russian thistle in her glory.p1270507 Look at her climb a ladder of carbon to the sun, with precisely placed synapses to receive the wind. The colour of her sepals (not petals) are for the sun, not to attract insects.p1270362

The human brain is more complex than hers, but hers is a brain as well.

She too is conscious, but in the context of the world, not of herself.


We shouldn’t be greedy. We can praise intelligence where it finds us, right?

The Sun at Work

The sun reveals the shape of darkness.p1270324

That’s its work. With light, heat, radiation and even gravity, that’s what it does. The earth rises to it.


Even when it falls.

Movement is not necessary, but when we make it, as we have on the trail at Palouse Falls above, we make it in the sun, as darkness. Things are what they are.


So are we. To be the sun is to give praise.