11 October 2012

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed 
      The innocent can never last 
                                Wake me up when September ends 

 --a song by Green Day 

"In Silence" Leaf by ~runningwave~

Autumn, for me, is the time to turn around and to look back at the path behind me that I've been traversing all year long. I ask myself: What has this year meant to me? What bends in the road did I encounter that slowed my momentum? What passersby or fellow travelers did I meet; who are the people who gave their time to share and discuss the moments of their lives with me along my way? Most importantly, I ask myself to ponder what lessons I have learned since the last time paused to look back -- which is almost certainly last Autumn.

This has been a particularly rich and bountiful year for me personally. I am humbled by that because so many people around me are struggling every day. Many of them are people I know who are barely making ends meet; others are just scraping by unscathed in personal battles. I have had my share of struggles in the financial sense and in my personal life, too. So for my friends and acquaintances who are troubled in some way, I feel a sense of empathy. Yet this Autumn, I feel a sense of awe that I've reached a point in my life where I have a measured  place of peace and stability.  

Now it is once again the beginning of my favorite month of the year. Sweet, secret October with its crisp, delicious air and the sounds of geese flying southward. 

All I can think of is the beauty of the falling leaves. It's time to let go, Nature is whispering, if you pause to listen. Silently there is just a bit more darkness creeping forward against the hours of sunlight, and with it, I feel the need to curl up under the covers and sleep a little longer. Time to heed the call of the darkness soon and rest for the winter.

Reverse sides of Leaf Paintings, detail.

Front sides of Leaf Paintings

Before the Winter comes, I will celebrate every delicious Autumn day and make the most of the feeling of dry, coolness that comes with this season of rich hues and abundant harvest. For me, it is pure joy to let go of the light as I look forward to the slower, calmer pace of the months where nurturing and new growth happen. 

I keep hearing a phrase over and over in my head that Philip Carr Gomm said recently to a group of like-minded souls gathered in the mountains of Pennsylvania. As the cycle of the year goes by, he explained, celebrating the seasons allows us to reflect on "the changing and the changeless."  What I think he meant was the fact that we know the seasons will change, one after the other, but there is the expectation that the whole cycle of seasons is itself never ending. The seasonal cycle will continue long after we are around to witness it.

Completed Falling Leaf Paintings by ~runningwave~
About the artwork:  All of the mixed media leaf paintings began with a paper leaf cut-out which I had left over from a project last year (the paper leaves came from Paper Source). I painted layers of ink onto the front and back of Artist Trading Cards (a variety of Strathmore papers): the fronts more bright hues and the reverse sides more brown earth tones, with metallic inks for embellishment on both sides. I attached a charm to each leaf painting and wrote a phrase from Autumn poems that I like across each leaf.  I made sure to fold and bend the paper leaves so that they have creases and scoring like real leaves do.


  1. Someday I hope to be as peaceful and meditative as you have managed to become in your life :) I love what you've been doing with your leaf art, and I can't wait to see what you branch out to next! Haha... I crack myself up... But really I'm looking forward to it.

  2. I love your leaf paintings and I'm proud to own one of them. Thank you! Your thoughts on Autumn are so peaceful. I try to savor all the days of color and beautiful weather but find myself rushing to do too many things and feeling overwhelmed! I hope to eventually have the peace you've carved out for yourself during this wonderful time of year.

  3. such gorgeous leaf cards! i, too, love autumn and it has inspired me to create in the colors of the season.

    thanks for stopping by my blog. i have another blog where i do more writing - www.thesageyears.blogspot.com check it out if you get a chance.

    1. You are too kind, laurie. I love your autumn photos in your recent posts. I'm now following you.

      I work a lot in photography; my art school education was in commercial photography even though I chose not to pursue it as a career. You will begin to see more and more mixed media art here on the Pull of the Tides blog. It's something I've been playing around with for years, and only now taking it seriously as art.