Seeing beauty in every day -

It was a glorious week, the leaves on the trees turned more golden or a deeper red with each day and I reveled in the beauty of the days. Frosts iced the lowlands shimmering in the early morning sunlight. The air smelled like fall - an earthy leafy kind of smell. Every time I looked out the window the beauty refreshed my spirit. I wanted to stop over and over when I travelled to take yet another picture of the countryside in its fall finery. The wind was quiet all week. I was waiting for the wind.  We always get fall winds that shake the leaves from the trees in a matter of hours with a strength and fury that makes one pause. I knew the wind would come and I wanted to savor the beauty that was right in front of me.

I took photos through the living room windows, from the deck, and along the roadside trying to imprint the beauty not only into a photograph but also into my spirit. I would view the landscape, take the photo, and then check whether the photo captured the essence of what my eyes had seen. Most of the time I was disappointed. Somehow the grandeur of the sight complete with the sound of rustling leaves and the smell of fall became just a flat photo of some trees that looked very far away. It frustrated me and I knew that time was working against me, as the winds would inevitably begin to blow soon.

Sometime during the week I realized that I couldn't bottle or in this case photograph the essence of the experience because it was grand. I could capture snaps in time but they would always be flat and very small even when I used panoramic mode. My efforts would never convey the size of the sixty-foot poplar graced in gold leaf that sparkled against the setting sun. While a frosty morning shot was pretty, the viewer would not feel the nippy cold air on his or her toes when they looked at the photo later. Pictures could not convey the sound of leaves that were no longer soft and pliable as they brushed up against one another in a breeze. And no matter how spectacular the photo, it failed to capture the smell of autumn. Although the photos were not able to capture autumn in its sheer largesse, they were a moment in time that was beautiful.

And it was that beauty, day after day, as the wind held off that made me begin to think about gold leaf. If you were able to put gold leaf on the trees the landscape would look like this all the time, it would shimmer in the breeze and reflect the light of the rising and setting sun. According to the History of Gold Leaf on the Smithsonian Institute's website, artists have been applying gold leaf for thousands of years. Part of me wished I could waive a magic wand and apply gold leaf to the trees so that even when the winds came the trees would remain golden. But another part of me was looking forward to the windy day when all the leaves would swirl around and settle on the forest floor. Yesterday that happened.  The winds blew and the rain fell. Leaves swirled past the windows and fell to the forest floor as fast as the raindrops came down from heaven.  Many of the trees were bare within a matter of hours.  When I looked out this morning I saw the beauty of the silhouettes of tree trunks and limbs against the morning sky, sculptural shapes were revealed that have been hidden by leaves.  Another kind of beauty in a new day.  Another chance to choose to see the beauty in your day how ever it reveals itself.