It’s been more than thirty years since I’ve lived in a four season climate, and yet still I look for the changes that signal a new time of year has begun. Especially in the fall. In my area the seasons mostly consist of hot and less hot, with variations certainly neither dramatic nor immediate. You can’t look out the window and determine the season because it’s perpetual summer, feeding the delusion that life is standing still.
While in Asheville last week I was driving down a residential street that was so completely resplendent with the colors of fall I had to stop to take it in more fully. I didn’t have my camera and in a way I was glad, because it forced me to rely solely on my senses, incorporating them all to imprint the moment within me. I knew I didn’t want to forget not only its beauty, but the way it permeated my skin, reaching inside, allowing the divinity in me to mingle and dance with the divinity of my surroundings. Everything so crisp and vivid and *alive* it was like being born anew. Had anything ever been as glorious?
As I continued along street after street, I became aware that I might actually be skipping, lost as I was in this feeling of revelry. I decided I might want to tone it down a bit as I came closer to an elderly couple walking hand in hand in my direction, but I knew by the way they smiled at me I hadn’t fooled them. “Enjoying a perfect fall day?”, the man questioned. Yes! He went on to tell me that two days prior as he walked out his front door he knew without a doubt he was witnessing the most brilliant display of colors he’d seen anywhere else ever in his entire 83 years. And then, a day later mother nature came through with a strong wind, blowing half the leaves off the trees and into the yards and streets, changing the scene altogether again. He said he was so grateful that he’d really took the time to be fully aware and present the day before.
This is the reason I miss and long for the change of seasons; nature continually tapping you on the shoulder, saying, “pay attention, for it’s all new, today is not the same as yesterday, nor will it stay as it is by tomorrow. Drink in the now while it’s here. Taste and touch, listen and observe, and allow yourself to be moved and changed in response."
This is also the reason I photograph children, the practice being the same as noticing the changing seasons. It’s not simply seeing, but seeing with awareness and awe and immediacy. The fleeting loveliness incites profound attention, and in this attention dwells the face of God.