January 22, 2021

At the fall of the leaf . . .

Today, Autumn pictures and an Autumn poem for your contemplation.

Autumn is the glorious falling of the year. Here are a few photos taken recently here in central Indiana. Photography is a way of prayer for me, of paying attention and learning to see with new eyes.

I may post more in days to come, but you are welcome to visit my Flickr page at any time to keep up with what is catching my eye.

Click on each photo to see a larger image.

• • •

Autumn Song
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?


  1. Great pictures CM. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. Leaves have not yet started turning near Woodstock GA. Have a great weekend all…

  2. Ronald Avra says

    You seem to have a diversity of interests, Chaplain. I’m baffled as to how you find time for them all. Definitely good pictures. In south Texas, you need plenty of rain, followed by a pronounced cold snap, for the color to be as brilliant as that in your photos. That is fairly rare; most likely to see variations of brown.

  3. CM, your photos are giving me an Autumn I’m otherwise missing. Here in northern Michigan, fall has taken a strange turn with many leaves just turning brown and falling off the tree. My guess is that not yet having had a hard frost is behind this. The weather has been unusually mild and pleasant even tho we had snow showers one day that didn’t stick. There are still leaves on the trees but I would say we are half done, some spots of color along the way but not the blankets of brilliance we had last year.

    Putting my photos up by yours would assure you the blue ribbon, but I take this as inspiration and assurance that it can be done. I haven’t been bringing my camera with me on walks so much over the past half year, but am trying to get back in the groove. Grateful for your panorama and much enjoying it.

    • David Cornwell says

      Charles, Marge and I spent several days in the Traverse City area last week, and on up in the Leelanau Peninsula, then the Tunnel of Trees up the other side and found fantastic color. It seemed to me some of the best I’ve ever seen.

      • Oh well, glad you scored a good one, David. Last year was my first year this far north and I heard local people saying it was the best they could remember, but it also snowed in September and otherwise got cold fast. I’m maybe fifty miles south of Traverse and inland and have yet to have a hard frost. Maybe I should take a run up there just to see.

  4. Michael Bell says
  5. David Cornwell says

    Mike, great pictures. I also love the Autumn season and everything about it. The cool of the air, the smells of changing season, the beauty that cannot be escaped. I especially like the road photograph, turning its way through the changing woods.

    Photography does become a way to engage in prayer. And this happens even if you never snap the shutter at times.

    Last week Marge and I went to Traverse City, MI to spend several days. Autumn had reached it peak. We drove up through the Leelanau Penninsula wine country one day, doing some tasting and buying along the way. Traverse City, itself, is the tart cherry capital of the world.

    Then on another day we traveled up another coast and through the Tunnel of Trees (MI 119), a narrow road, and very slow driving. We seemed to be in the very heart of Autumn itself, with time slowed down and nature being at its artistic best.

    My photography is causing me some pain right now. Not the photography itself, but my own physical condition is beginning to limit me. I tried a long walk yesterday at the Merry Lea Environmental Center (my favorite near-to-home place). I had to turn back before reaching my goal, and feeling as if my days taking long walks and snapping photos might be at an end. If this is so, then my two favorite activities are under threat.

  6. Randy Thompson says

    Since it’s autumn and we’re looking at photographs today, feel free to check out the Forest Haven Facebook page, which will give you a pretty good idea of what fall is like here in New Hampshire, at least in and around Bradford and the Lake Sunapee area. (For that matter, other seasons of the year, too.)


  7. inspired to drive out into the country this morning . . . two-lane road to the east takes me to the dairy for cream, a pumpkin, and a fresh-baked apple pie (it’s a Mennonite dairy, they make sandwiches, sell baked goods, home-made ice cream, and dairy products including farmer’s cheese) . . .

    came home feeling ‘refreshed’ in spirit and warmed in soul . . . autumn is here and I welcome it in with joy

  8. Great pics!

    I’m not sure this picture does the image justice, but a few days ago I happened upon a natural phenomenon I’d never seen before in my 50+ years of living: two leaves (one in the foreground, another further behind it) hovering in mid-air, held by single spider-web strands.


  9. Beautiful pictures! I particularly love the one in the middle, with the gravel path going off between the trees.

    Living in the Pacific Northwest, we a preponderance of evergreens, which are nice in the winter, but mean we don’t see so much of the autumn colours they get elsewhere. South Korea, of all places, has gorgeous, yellow- and scarlet-clad mountainsides this time of year, usually under brilliant blue skies. Truly a sight to behold!

    Rossetti’s poem touches on something I often feel at this time of year. In this season of bringing in the harvest with the onset of winter, autumn often seems to usher in an involuntary process of spiritual taking stock, of being tested and having to wrestle with one’s deepest beliefs.

  10. Michael Bell says

    Apparently you got it figured out!

  11. OldProphet says

    Not much foliage here in SoCal desert so a bigger indicator is my Dodgers losing in the playoffs. Of course, some other team (some goat thing), lost too.

  12. 1Corinthians seems appropriate:

    “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?”
    The rainbow and the fall color both give me a sense of hope. Light in darkness so to speak. It’s not as dour as it appears.

  13. Perhaps appropriate for a discussion about change of season, here is a quote from today’s Richard Rohr:

    “The toothpaste is out of the tube. There are now enough people who know the big picture of Jesus’ thrilling and alluring vision of God that this Great Turning cannot be stopped. There are enough people going on solid inner journeys that it is not merely ideological or theoretical any more. For the first time, on a broad basis, future reformations can come from the inside out and from the bottom up, in a positive, nonviolent way. Only now is human consciousness evolved enough to think and act this way. Before it was quite rare, even among many otherwise saints.”

  14. Oh golly, those are beautiful, Chaplain Mike! You inspire me to get my camera outside again and take pictures of the lovely fall here in southern Ohio.

    Here’s another fall poem, from G. M. Hopkins:

    Spring and Fall: To a Young Child

    Márgarét, áre you gríeving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leáves like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! ás the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By and by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you wíll weep and know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
    It ís the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.

  15. I Brake for Leaves
    (R, Rosenkranz , 2008)

    I drive along a typical autumn road;
    cold trees shed their foliage bit by colorful bit.

    Leaves drift down, lay on the shoulder;
    Soul-less bodies, stacked and ready for burial.

    A wind comes up,
    breathes life into a big, fat brown leaf
    and a gaggle of little yellow ones.

    They all rise, cross the street in front of me,
    Big Brown in the lead, like a mama duck,

    the smaller ones skittering after her, single file,
    like dear ducklings rushing to safety.

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