13 November 2011

november 12 of 12: shades of brown

fall's blinding colors have been gone for weeks now. except for the flat green of pines and hemlock, the rest of the november landscape goes to a profusion of browns. time was when i thought it so drab but now i see there's something quiet and calming and restful about this color in all its glorious shades.

by november, the wood is in. oak, maple, birch, beech. it's sat for a year to dry out and is seasoned now and ready to burn. it sits stacked outside the door, a wall of brown, ready to be called upon to take the fall chill off and keep this old house warm well into the winter.

the forest floor is covered in browns, nature's november carpet, stretching far, far into the woods, just as far as the eye can see.

after they fall, most leaves dry up and their edges curl into themselves. not so with oaks. their umber leaves hang on to their branches longer and, when they finally do fall, they are broad and flat against the ground, a ragged piece of brown paper, blowing along end over end in the wind. 

beech leaves have turned a uniform, muted brown but will not fall. they stay on the tree for much of the winter making a dry chattering sound when the winds blow fierce and the snowflakes whirl.

so many pods are dry and opening in november, dropping seeds that will settle into the earth with the hopes of rebirth in the spring. these are the bean pods remaining on the poles after the little girl collected a basketful to split open. she has the purple mottled seeds packed away in their round cardboard box for replanting in the spring, just as she has done for most of the novembers of her life. 

the once vibrant morning glory plants are now spent. i should unwind them from their trellis. but i love seeing the way the brown weaves in and around itself and how the pods are plump with seed. i'll leave them for the winter, hoping that they not only add interest to the snowy landscape in february, but that they also may reseed themselves in the spring. i can hope, can't i?

weeds are lovely and so interesting this time of year. i have no idea what this is but it represents so many common plants that line the roadsides and the edges of the woods. hundreds of tiny brown seeds ready to burst forth airborne when they catch the winds.

and here's another...

look at these maple pods. you can see that the double pod has split, leaving the seeds on either side ready to root themselves firmly in the grass where they will no doubt be run down by the lawnmower in may. good thing there are hundreds of these winged pods on the ground, everywhere.

once a gorgeous blue, the hydrangea are now lifeless brown on the bush. but look at the intricacies in the  oval petals now that the color is not there to blind the observer.

i'm not sure these are pods. i wonder if they may be seeds or even spores. i know they're from a fern that grows in the woods around here. i gather bunches of these in november and scatter arrangements in places where i can admire the stoic shiny brown all winter long.

finally, so many special fall drinks are brown. apple cider. pumpkin spice coffee. hot chocolate. cocoa chai. warm soothing drinks to sip by the fire and chase away the november chill. 



Linda Chapman said...

What a lovely fall post! We have just now come into color down here. It won't last long but I am happy to see ANY color!
I so enjoy your posts and pics...

Cherie Blessing said...

Absolutely beautiful, Chris! You captured it.

CrazyCris said...

What a lovely way to make brown an interesting colour! We're still in the greens and blues here... although brown is the pervading colour in the background, but that's year-round. Not as nice a brown as this one though since it's a sign of desertification.

susan t. landry said...

yay, chris. all those dead leaves are bringing out the best in you! wonderful writing, observations, and pictures.

Anonymous said...

Brown is definitely beautiful, your pictures captured that perfectly!

Nora said...

Yes, there are many colors in that brown of yours. You certainly did make that obvious. I will look at brown with renewed eyes. I love the photo of the woodpile. So neat and orderly and colorful.

Paula's Postings said...

What a delightful autumn post, your description of each photograph a joy to read.

R. J. said...

How insightful to find such a neat theme at this time of the year. Your vision of the season reminds me to appreciate things for what they are, not what they aren't. Everything has its own special beauty.Good perspective in the photos.I'm always impressed with original composition in photos.