Autumn Magic


Autumn is my favourite time of the year to travel. It might even be my favourite time of the year.

This year I sadly confess I nearly missed it . As a nearly retired guy who works only a little bit, this should not have happened. I let one file of mine interfere with my nice quiet life. My grand daughter Nasya was right when she told me, “Opa you suck at retirement.” Harsh words but children tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it.

Maple leaves are the prize of autumn. We don’t really have them in Manitoba other than a few scattered spots. That is a dreadful pity. I know a stop just across the border in Ontario where I try to go at least once each autumn. This year it was very disappointing. Most of the regular spots were barren of maple leaves. I don’t know if I was too later or too early or it was just not a good year.

I did find a couple of trees but most in some places I deemed not very photographic. At least I could not capture them there. So I concentrated on finding them on the ground or rock instead. As some sage said, when the world gives you lemons make lemonade.


I always associate autumn with the last part of life. Maybe that is why I appreciate it even more now. The end of life; I am there now. The spectacular beauty; I am not there. Sad.

I believe maple leaves are the prize of autumn. I did not find many, but I did find beauty. It was worth the trip.

One thought on “Autumn Magic

  1. Hans, your maples inspire me:

    Conifers are good all-season windbreaks and offer fragrant, sticky shelter for birds and small humans.

    Birch and maple give us summer shade and are safe near the cottage. Chickadees store seeds, hidden in the birch’s paper bark. Squirrels too, so these clustered trees are like “leave a penny–take a penny” jars at a convenience store, but for seeds.

    Poplars’ woodwind leaves sough and rush in the night breeze but their waterlogged trunks and branches are widowmakers and a hazard near buildings. Night bombers over our tiny homestead–our London, Dresden, Madrid. At the same time, flanking poplar communities are tall, shady, and they nurture–like forest daycares–dogwoods and sumac that grow in an eight-foot high understory, giving our clearing privacy. Stunning blossoms at different times in the summer as well. Berries too, if we’d take the time to learn which ones are good for what. The birds and bears know–we’ll leave it to them.

    Stands of black spruce are littered with fallen stems; many leaning like drunks among their mates. The gusting wind flexes the intersecting trunks and they squall like Paul Bunyan cellos, sounding from a distance like an orchestra, tuning the string section.

    Elm and ash stretch their hardwood limbs like big Joe Pritchard calling for the ball from the low post. They reach wide to get their share of light and shade our yard in so doing.

    Oaks are hardy and unyielding and we love them purely for their sneering lignum stoicism. Respect. So too, for jackpine that cling to rocky cliffs, growing from a cupful of sandy soil in the furrowed brow of a rock.

    Finally, there’s the trio of ironwood wisemen, at the extreme northern extent of their range. They inspire us with their persistence. I think they are the elders of the neighbourhood, gossiping and tut-tutting about “saplings these days!” They frustrate beavers with their tooth-busting hardness and hang gnarled branches over the still water where kingfishers sit and hunt minnows, watched by tamaracks adorned with fall gold.

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